Committee gets more excuses than answers - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Committee gets more excuses than answers

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by Heather Hauswirth

Demanding answers, the Military Buildup Committee met today hoping to get see and hear details about the draft environmental impact statement which won't be released to the public until next month.  But the committee received more excuses than answers.

Senator Judi Guthertz said, "I'm a little bit perturbed that JGPO had these five agencies of the Government of Guam sign non-disclosure agreements and I am even more disappointed that the Government of Guam representatives apparently complied.  What's the secret?"

Despite citing Guam's Sunshine Laws to force the production of whatever portions of the DEIS the Guam Coastal Management, Guam EPA, Division of Aquatic and Wildlife Resources, Department of Agriculture, State Historic Preservation Office and Public Works have already reviewed and provided comment on, Senator Guthertz instead received this response:

"To disclose the information would have a dire effect on the (Guam) Government's ability to work with JGPO and furthermore the EIS is a draft document, in other words, it is a work in progress."

Bureau of Stats & Plans director Tony Lamorena says he's concerned that providing this information to senators now would violate federal law.  The director adding that JGPO may no longer allow the Government of Guam's natural resources agencies to access confidential materials if they break the non-disclosure agreement.

He said, "Our main focus is to ensure our natural resources and the people of Guam are protected."  Guthertz replied, "This presents a very serious problem, we observe the Guam sunshine laws and you are not observing the Guam Sunshine Laws."

Lamorena said, "I want to wait for the AG's Office; if the AG's Office says go ahead and release it, we'll release it."

But Deputy Attorney General Patrick Mason wasn't willing to give the green light, saying the office is trying to clarify whether the Sunshine Act trumps a federal non-disclosure form.  he said, "It behooves us to contact the military and ask what they consider sensitive and what they consider non-sensitive."

The committee chose will reconvene at a later time after they receive documents requested from the various entities and the Camacho Administration.

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