Latest DEIS hearing in Yigo - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Latest DEIS hearing in Yigo

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by Nick Delgado

Guam - As the military begins to wrap up their public hearings on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, residents it seems are just getting started raising their voices against the proposed military buildup.

"Do you see what they are doing?  This is exactly like recruiting," said Jason Ray Tedtaotao.  "They use forums and persuasion, we see benefits and temptation, but the thought of our future should cause us hesitation, it should make us ask questions. Like why are the people who call this land home, the same people up here giving reasons for you not to take it."

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 existing base. That was the argument presented by Sasayan Valley landowner Gloria Nelson.

She said, "There is only my decision that you will find another place that you already own to have your firing range, throw grenades and dump your toxic waste on. There is no compromise because this is not about money. There is no market value for something that is not on the market."

Nelson says she 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 as she feels that the DEIS is not a unified document. While some use the words "a dumb deal" when describing the DEIS, Senator Ben Pangelinan says the federal government from the beginning has purposely given wrong and misdirected information on the buildup.

"If General [David] Bice says we decided to move the firing range from Finegayan because you told us you don't want us shooting at you tourists and at your fishermen, and we're listening to you. Well, listen to me General Bice: I don't want you desecrating those ancestral burial grounds, I don't want you bombing and shooting spirits of ancestors that rest in Pagat.  Listen, listen, listen," he said.

But out of the bunch who testified against the buildup, resident Mark Sablan says he is in favor of the Marines relocation as the island is in need of more skilled and educated workers.  "Let's go ahead and raise the opportunity and give a chance to see if this military buildup can provide jobs," he said.

A total of 66 participants signed up to voice their concerns, some even giving up their spot and allowing others to use their time.  Although the hearing went late into the night, some residents tell KUAM News that they were in fact turned away from providing comment on the document. The problem they say is that there is just not enough time during these hearings to do so.

Participants are being given three minutes to provide comment. Another public hearing gets underway at seven o'clock this evening.

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