by Nick Delgado
Guam - The first in a series of workshops are underway this evening with Government of Guam consultants, the Matrix Design Group. During this visit the team will present their Compatibility Sustainability Study to the public.
Matrix Design Group Vice-President Celeste Werner says her team has drafted a plan that would prepare the island, even if the military buildup does not happen. The plans were summarized in a document called The Compatibility Sustainability Study, which addresses keys issues that have been raised since the release of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement. Werner says that even includes residents' concerns about land and noise impacts.
"We look at anywhere from a half a mile out from the borders of the installations, we look at explosive safety arcs that potentially may go out of the installation as well as noise contours," she said.
The CSS also touches on the types of impacts the military buildup may have on cultural sites, as Werner says it too is a problem is the United States. "Access was really the major one with the cultural sites, communities across the US also have issues with access to cultural sites, so we look forward to providing hopefully some strategies to assist the territory," she said.
Safety is also listed as a top concern for the island as it relates to tourist and resort land use and development in Dededo adjacent to NCTS Finegayan and Andersen Air Force Base. It's a problem Werner says needs to be mitigated immediately, noting, "The majority of those are on installations, t in this instance there's a portion that does come off that's the accident potential zone off AAFB."
Werner says they, too, echo the concerns raised by the USEPA about the impacts the buildup will have environmentally on the island. She said, "With more development over your aquifer there is high to moderate probability of some contamination happening so it needs to be monitored."
While she adds that they plan to hold a third series of workshops to present mitigation strategies, she is confident that her team's efforts will help the island be a step ahead of the military when it comes to the buildup. "If the buildup happens and if there are any new missions that come in the future, and be prepared with legislation and polices in place that will definitely be in the books so that if the military comes forward they will know that they will have to abide by those regulation," she said.
The first workshop is being held at the University of Guam this evening. It will continue tomorrow at Southern High School and conclude on Wednesday at the Yigo Gymnasium. All workshops will be held from 6-8pm.