by Nick Delgado
Guam - The third installment of public hearings on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement took place Monday evening at the Yigo Gymnasium. The hearing attracted more than 400 island residents with more than 60 of them signing up to provide public comment.
Tempers were high for most who provided input on the DEIS specifically on the military's plans to acquire more land for the Marine relocation. Residents expressed disappointment saying the military should rather build inside the base.
Resident Gloria Nelson expressed frustration saying that the people should not relax, adding that there is no compromise when it comes to acquiring more land for the military. Nelson says they will continue to say no when it comes to the military asking for land to accommodate the buildup. She also argues the One Guam slogan saying the DEIS is not a unified document, and that the military is thinking only of themselves rather than the people of the island. "Your children already have the cleanest sands, the cleanest oceans, and the cleanest playgrounds." Nelson stated.
Dededo resident Janet Aguon calls the review period of the DEIS "a dumb deal," citing the 11 thousand pages contained in the document with only 90 days for the comment period.
Senator Ben Pangelinan called the DEIS a document that is full of misinformation saying, "Since the announcement of the buildup, the military purposely gave wrong information, so that we don't know what is going to happen to our land, our people, and our children." He adds, " Until they decide to tell the truth, not a single piece of dirt should be turned over for this military buildup." Pangelinan expressed how he does not want the military desecrating the ancestral grounds especially in the Pagat area, and how he wants the military to mitigate before creating more problems for the future.
However, a number of participants expressed major disappointment as they say they were turned away from providing official testimony before JGPO. Ylig-Yona resident Anthony Ada says when he came in to sign up, he was told that they just have too many names on the list. 66 total residents signed up to provide comment. Ada believes the two-hour time frame is just too short to hear the communities concerns. Guam Legislature officials have also said that they will continue to document and record all participants' comments, even after the military breaks down for the evening.
JGPO officials will conclude the DEIS hearing's tomorrow at Okkodo High School in Dededo before heading up north to hear concerns from residents in the CNMI.