Final DEIS hearing held at Okkodo High - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Final DEIS hearing held at Okkodo High

by Nick Delgado

Guam - The public hearing's on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement concluded Tuesday evening at Okkodo High School in Dededo. And this time, the hearing drew a variety of opinions with residents wanting to first weigh-in on their options before making any final decisions to accept the military buildup.

Hundreds made it to the final hearing on the DEIS held by the Joint Guam Program Office. Residents filed into the school's cafeteria in hopes to be sold on the idea to have the Marines relocated to Guam, but some continue to keep their guard up.

Joe Cepeda announced, "My main concern is there is going to be too many people, too many cars and other things that the local people is going to effect all of us, but its going to be a change."

Others have heard by word of mouth from their peers that more youth in the community have been and should continue to get involved in the DEIS process. That was the reason Yigo resident James Wolford made it to the last hearing. He says after now attending the hearing, he plans to become more proactive when it comes to decision making on the buildup.

"My decisions not clear right now because I have a lot of family members in the United States military, but then again for the benefit for my people and the island. We're moving so far away from our culture and traditions," he said.

Wolford fears that more island residents are leaving the island as the military buildup approaches, but he is confident that as long as the future generations continue the traditions, that there is hope for the people of Guam.  "Aside from the cultural stuff, we are Americans and that's the reason why my tendency is accepting this, and let's move, because its just an out for Guam with the rot and the economy that we've been going through these past few years," he stated.

Dededo resident and retired Marine Ricardo Cruz meanwhile believes the buildup will provide positive growth and opportunity for the island. He is optimistic that the island's shortfalls will change overnight once the marines settle in.

Speaker Judi Won Pat also announced at last night's hearing that they too will be holding public hearings. The first being at Southern High School cafeteria on January 25, then on the next night at the Yigo Senior Citizens Center, and finally wrapping up at the Sinajana Senior Citizen Center on January 29.

The Governor's Office will also be holding village workshops on the DEIS. The first one is scheduled for January 19 at the Yigo Senior Citizens Center, then on January 20 at the Mangilao Senior Citizens Center. The workshops will provide the public an overview of consultants Matrix Design Group's key findings in the DEIS. The workshops will be held from 6-9pm.

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