Tuesday, January 26, 2010

PNC :: Sen. Guthertz Calls On DOD To Modify Buildup Plan

PNC :: Sen. Guthertz Calls On DOD To Modify Buildup Plan

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Guam - The Chairperson of the Guam Legislature’s Committee on the Guam Military Buildup has warned that absent major changes in present military land use plans on the island, the “welcome mat” for the buildup may disappear.

Senator Judith P. Guthertz sent her ‘Comment Paper on Land Issues’ to a wide range of high ranking federal officials, starting with President Obama and including numerous members of his cabinet as well as Major General David Bice, USMC (Ret.) who is the executive director of the Joint Guam Program Office, which is charged with carrying out the buildup.

Senator Guthertz and other Guam officials have maintained that they received private assurances from persons connected to the buildup that it would involve no taking of local land by condemnation (eminent domain) or other means, but the draft Environmental Impact Statement revealed alternatives that would require the military to obtain considerable land beyond the present one third of the island owned by the Department of Defense.

“The DEIS must be modified to locate, as the preferred alternative, all of the military’s needs on existing federal land,” Senator Guthertz’ paper said. “This modification must be done NOW, not behind locked doors between the second half of February and the first half of July.”

“The welcome mat could well be eliminated over those months if no justice is provided.”

Since November, Guam residents have been poring over the thousands of pages of the DEIS, seeking to decipher what its highly technical language means for their future and the future of Guam. Many of these citizen-reviewers have found issues to dispute in the plans and public hearings held to gather public input have become increasingly contentious.

Land issues identified by Senator Guthertz are particularly focused on what appear to be the military’s preferences for the location of firing ranges and new housing for additional personnel, all requiring property outside of the present military “footprint.” The paper reviews these choices and proposes alternatives that could all be located on existing military land.

Written by : News Release

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