Thursday, March 25, 2010

Final EIS This Summer

Final EIS out by summer
Thursday, 25 March 2010 04:55
by Zita Y. Taitano
Marianas Variety News Staff

THE final version of the environmental impact statement for the military buildup could be ready by late June or early July, Joint Guam Program Office director John Jackson said yesterday.

Jackson made the announcement before the Mayors Council during yesterday’s special meeting.

He said JGPO has received a total of 8,600 comments on the draft report.

He said the comments came from different places including Guam, Japan, the Philippines, and Hawaii, among others.

“Those comments range from ‘We’re glad to see the Marines coming’ to ‘Yankee go home,’” Jackson said.

The documents received will be reviewed by a team in Hawaii and then put in 45 categories for the final version.

And while he didn’t go into what those categories were, Jackson said that they would be included in the final version and be referred to as actionable comments. Other comments that do not have any direct impact on the final study will be omitted.

“Once the final study is put out on the street, there will be a 30-day period from the time it is published to the time that the record of decision can be made in August,” Jackson said.

Jackson explained that the record of decision will be comprised of multiple alternatives and preferred alternatives by the Secretary of the Navy.

“The Secretary of the Navy may say he concurs with the preferred alternative at Finegayan for the Marine Corps Base or he may say I like that part, but I also want you to modify it to do the following things so the record of decision basically takes the recommendations from the final EIS and the decision signs off on it with yes or no,” said Jackson.

As for the failing grade that the draft report has received from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Jackson said when the study was drafted last September, it was based on the input from the scoping meetings, and that several issues brought up had already been addressed.

He said Nancy Sutley, chairwoman of the Environmental Quality Council, told him the issues and concerns were already taken care of.

Jackson, however, didn’t specify the issues that he said have been addressed.

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