Saturday, January 30, 2010

Panel to take Guam concerns to D.C.

Panel to take Guam concerns to D.C.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010 05:15
by Therese Hart | Variety News Staff

SPEAKER Judi Won Pat will head a Guam delegation to Washington D.C. to bring the local community’s perspectives on the military buildup to members of Congress.

The delegation will include members of the legislature.

Won Pat said she wants to know if public comments will make a difference in the final draft of the environmental impact statement and if the people of Guam be given the opportunity to review and comment on the final report.

The traveling time is crucial, said Won Pat. “We want to leave in February because Congress is still in session and will recess on the 12th and we want to be there before that because if we wait, it'll be too late. There won't be anybody to present our case to,” she said.

Won Pat said she and her colleagues who attended the public hearings on the draft environmental impact statement were deeply troubled by the overwhelmingly negative comments from those who had testified.

Another question lawmakers will ask Congress is whether the people of Guam will have the opportunity to present testimonies after the public comment period ends Feb. 18 on the final draft study. “And nobody can answer that question for us. Not the Matrix Group, not the Joint Guam Program Office,” Won Pat said.

“We we're going to put these oral testimonies on DVD, because we want them to hear and feel the sentiments of the people. They need to understand how frustrating it is to our people,” she added.

The other goal is to present a legislative resolution that will reveal the major concerns and the local community’s sentiments about the buildup, Won Pat said.

Won Pat said she intends to call a one-day session to discuss Resolution 275, which identifies specific elements of great concern that were expressed during the public hearings hosted by Joint Guam Program Office and Gov. Felix Camacho.

The delegation will also present to Congress Resolution 160, which expresses opposition to the possible exercise of eminent domain power for acquisition of public lands.

The speaker's open invitation to her colleagues has garnered interest of Vice Speaker BJ Cruz, Senators Rory Respicio, Judi Guthertz, Frank Blas Jr., who have committed to travel to the nation’s capital as part of the legislative delegation.

Won Pat said she hopes that a majority of her colleagues will join her because now is the time to send out a big message to Congress that “we're not going to take this sitting down. Whatever we can do, we'll do. We must,” said the Speaker. “The governor talks about One vision. One future. One Guam. Let us make it so.”

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