Bordallo challenges DEIS
Wednesday, 17 February 2010 03:37
by Therese Hart | Variety News Staff
Congressional report lists flaws of the draft study
THE military buildup must be delayed, Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo said last night, acknowledging that the draft environmental impact statement has serious deficiencies that need to be addressed.
In her congressional report to the people, Bordallo identified six areas of concern regarding the draft study, including and the Navy’s desire to acquire additional private and public lands.
“We will challenge the Navy to conduct the military buildup on their existing land. The Navy should better utilize its land and consider moving housing and some support facilities for the Marine aviation unit to Andersen Air Force Base,” Bordallo said.
Secondly, an area of concern is the proposed firing range at Pagat and Sasayan. “If private property owners choose not to lease or sell their land I will support them and oppose any effort by the Department of Defense to use eminent domain to acquire that land. I recognize the input of private landowners and the organization ‘We Are Guahan’ on this issue.
A third area of concern is the proposed alternative for an aircraft carrier transient berth in Apra Harbor. “The plans for the carrier berth in Apra Harbor will result in a significant loss of coral. I will challenge the Navy to identify other alternatives that will minimize coral damage and that will take advantage of currently dredged areas such as Kilo or Delta wharves among others. I thank Senator Guthertz for her input,” said the congresswoman.
Fourth, she noted the need for federal assistance for improving civilian infrastructure on Guam to support the military buildup.
“While the DEIS draft report recognizes the need to improve civilian infrastructure it does not provide a clear strategy that details how the federal government will assist Guam,” Bordallo said as she opposed the Navy’s plan to drill 22 new wells in the north “until an independent assessment is made about the capacity of the northern aquifer.”
The fifth area of concern is the lack of a comprehensive plan for the housing of guest workers and providing for their health care needs in a manner that does not further overwhelm Guam’s local infrastructure and health care system.
“Let me be clear about this issue – we must do all that we can to train our local workforce and hire them before we utilize guest workers. Any proposal to house guest workers outside the gates must address their impact on civilian infrastructure such as water, wastewater and power. We cannot allow guest worker housing off-base to cause the faucets to run dry or power outages in our homes.”
Finally, Bordallo said, the socioeconomic portion of the draft study must be completely rewritten “in order to truly address the socioeconomic impacts of the military buildup.”
She said she will encourage the Navy to work closely with the University of Guam, the Guam Community College and the Department of Chamorro Affairs to develop a better understanding of the cultural issues and to formulate a comprehensive plan to support programs which preserve and promote Chamorro culture and language and I thank Fuetsan Famaloan for this input.”
On the issue of war claims, Bordallo said that she has made significant progress and that “we are closer than ever to passing this bill and we will continue to build on our progress.”
Bordallo spoke strongly on Guam’s quest for self-determination saying that Guam must refocus on the process to achieve decolonization and improve its political status with the U.S.
Bordallo also said she was concerned about the one of the assumption in the draft impact report that all projects will be completed by 2014.
“It would not be an exaggeration to say that this draft EIS has done more harm than good. The DEIS has not accurately identified the impacts on Guam and it has exaggerated some impacts based on a false assumption that all projects will be completed by 2014,” said the congresswoman.
“This flawed assumption has drawn consequences and conclusions that are not sustainable and not supported by anyone. Nobody wants 80,000 additional people on Guam in 2014,” Bordallo said. “We will do everything that we can, federally and locally, to stop that from happening. As I said before, we have our foot on the brakes. I will not support appropriations and authorizations that will result in a construction pace that brings 80,000 people to Guam in 2014.”