Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Pangelinan critical of compatibility study

Pangelinan critical of compatibility study

Posted: Jan 18, 2010 4:39 PM
by Heather Hauswirth

Guam - The Governor's Village Workshops will be led by the Matrix Design Group, a Colorado-based company hired by Government of Guam to provide a comprehensive compatibility study of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement. The work the company has been tasked to do however is drawing criticism from Senator Ben Pangelinan, who believes their focus should have been on the technical impacts of the military buildup.

Governor Felix Camacho told KUAM News, "It's one thing to feel and say don't come or Yankee go home, but what good does that do if it doesn't force them to take any action? We are trying to take a more logical approach in understanding the process, explaining it to the people, and having them actually come and officially make a comment that would force action."

For $2.9 million the Matrix Design Group was tasked with conducting a formal review of the massive DEIS, and now they must make sure the comments made last week at the public hearings were more than just an outpouring of emotion, but backed up with research. Senator Pangelinan however believes organization's review of the DEIS is short-sighted, as its contract with GovGuam confines it to looking at the planning, environmental and fiscal components and not the technical aspects.

"We need some experts on the GovGuam side that will give us the status and stature to challenge the Defense Department experts, but they are saying they are prohibited from doing that and so what we are paying them hundreds of thousands of dollars if not millions for a public relations campaign, we don't need a public relations campaign, we need technical experts to help us evaluate the plans and the DEIS," he said.

But Governor Camacho dismissed the lawmaker's concerns, saying, "Criticisms about Matrix and resources and how they are spent and how the Legislature is not able to access that federal pool of money - these are issues they need to work out, but we continue to work at hand."

Earlier today the governor said he is confident that the matrix consultants ensure the people of Guam have their voices heard and that last week's emotional public hearings were not in vain. "How to properly respond so the passion and emotion and the comments they make count and count for something that would force the Department of Defense to react to and respond to what the people of Guam are saying," said Camacho.

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