Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Students sound off on DEIS

Students sound off on DEIS

Posted: Feb 10, 2010 2:23 PM
Updated: Feb 10, 2010 6:49 PM

by Michele Catahay

Guam - Guam has until next Wednesday to comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement. Students plan to voice their concerns about a number of issues that will affect them come 2014.

Several Okkodo High School students recently participated in a "Youth Speak" event where experts spoke about the potential impacts of the move of 8,000 U.S. Marines from Okinawa to Guam. Today, these students spoke before their peers about their own concerns.

Jeremy Denusta says he's most worried about the Department of Defense's plans to dredge at Apra Harbor to make way for a transient aircraft carrier berthing. He says because Apra Harbor is home to many forms of marine life, he isn't in support of it. "I really care about all of those stuff. Marine life is precious, so we're removing all of the coral there. It's like you're taking away the homes all of the fish. So they can't do that. I wouldn't want them to do that," he said.

Students also raised concerns about the military's plans to use lands in Umatac, Marbo Cave and Pagat to build training stations and firing ranges. Megan Borja says she would hate to have these pristine areas taken away from the people, telling KUAM News, "When they said they were going to use Marbo Cave as a firing range, that was like an insult because they're just going to be blowing all their bullets in there, you know?"

Christina Vasquez told her fellow students that they need to get involved since most of the decisions made will affect them and their families, saying, "Who plans to live here? and build their houses and raise their children? You will be dealing with every single issue that we speak about. The dredging, the landfill, the wastewater, the sewage, the animals. We won't have fish," she said.

Guam Coastal Management Program Outreach Coordinator Tammy Jo Taft says her presentations have allowed students to speak about these impacts in hopes for the youth to comment on the Draft EIS. "The point is to encourage students to comment because students are the generation that will inherit the decisions in the Draft EIS. The point is to help them find a voice and to help them comment on this process," she said.

The island has until next week to comment on the EIS. Taft says while many adults have attended public testimonies and submitted responses, she says the youth need to do so, too. "Most of the students that are in high school, by the time the buildup takes place they're going to be the young adults out in out community looking for jobs, starting families and these are the people that are going to be impacted the most because they have the longest time to spend on this island and deal with the changes that are happening," she said.

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