Army’s vessel-deployment plan puzzles senator
Monday, 08 February 2010 04:22
by Tiffany Sukola | Variety News Staff
The U.S. Army’s plan to station a fleet of joint high-speed vessels on Guam has left Senator Judi Guthertz second-guessing the transparency of military officials involved with military buildup efforts.
As chair of the military buildup committee, Guthertz said she is frustrated with the way military officials notified the public of its intent to station additional ships on Guam.
An advertisement was published yesterday asking island residents and government agencies to provide feedback so the Army could draft a programmatic environmental impact statement for the stationing of the vessels.
However, Guthertz said that little information was given regarding the timeline of implementation of the project, where these vessels will be housed and other vital information necessary for residents to determine whether it would help or hurt the island.
The advertisement said a copy of the Army’s notice of intent was posted on www.aec.army.mil, however Variety’s attempt to find the link failed.
According to the notice, residents have until March 5 to comment on the project.
“This is another case of the military telling the people of Guam- here’s what we want to do, what do you think,” said Guthertz adding that the comment period for this new project, like the length of the commenting period for the draft environmental impact statement, is too short.
Guthertz said that the military’s decision to ask residents to consider the environmental impacts of the stationing of up to twelve high-speed vessels on island while the upcoming military buildup is still a hugely debated topic is a case of bad timing.
Guthertz said that island residents, who are still trying to sift through the complicated DEIS, now have to worry about an additional project that could have a negative impact on the island’s community.
“Why was this not included in the draft environmental impact statement or buildup talks,” said Guthertz, adding that nowhere in the 11,000-page document does it mention the stationing of the vessels.
Guthertz said she is in the process of sending letters to military officials explaining her concerns.
“I want more information, more logistics about how this will affect the island,” said Guthertz.
Guthertz said that island residents are concerned about the lack of transparency on buildup efforts, something that needs to change.
Guthertz said that it isn’t fair for the military to ask the people of Guam what they think about buildup efforts if the entire picture isn’t presented. She added that she is worried more last-minute projects will be dumped on island resident’s laps in the coming months.
“How many more of these situations are going to occur,” asked Guthertz, adding that she, like most island residents, just want to know what’s in store for the island as the next few years unfold.