GovGuam helps students comment on DEIS - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

GovGuam helps students comment on DEIS

by Michele Catahay

Guam - While residents from various local groups have been reviewing the draft environmental impact statement for the marine relocation from Okinawa to Guam, concerns have been raised on whether the island's schoolchildren know much about the move. The Governor's Office is spearheading efforts to get the youth involved in reviewing the Draft Environmental Impact Statement and providing written comments.

Bureau of Statistics & Plans Director Tony Lamorena says his agency, along with Adelup, will be spearheading efforts to engage the island's high school students in going over the Draft EIS. Lamorena says students need to be involved because in four years, these individuals are going to be a part of the workforce.

"We want them to be a part of the process. We want to hear their comments, what their issues are and what their concerns are. What we're doing is on February the 5, we're hosting an event. We're working with the Department of Education and all the private schools to identify because of space availability, a number of students at their respective schools," he said.

Lamorena says they will be discussing topics ranging from natural resources and the environment as well as social economic issues relating to the buildup. He says the key is to get their input so they could submit the comments on paper. On February 8-10, he says local officials will be out in the schools to teach students about the DEIS.

"We're getting a lot of adults and a lot of University of Guam students attending at the other events within the villages and the Legislature, but no one has really focused on specifically going out into the high schools.  So what we're doing right now is we're making an active effort to go after the high school students and getting their comments," Lamorena noted.

Because it's such a massive document, Lamorena says agency heads and subject experts will be on hand to start the dialogue with students to generate interest.  "We're going to make it as user friendly as we can. We don't want them to be intimidated by the document. Really, we want their comments to be noted so that the department of defense has to respond to their concerns," he said.

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