by Mindy Aguon
Guam - Military buildup oversight chair Senator Judi Guthertz was among a group of lawmakers who received a briefing on the final environmental impact statement and NEPA process this morning. Despite complaints that the Draft EIS was poorly conceived and inaccurate, Joint Guam Program Office officials made it clear that there are no plans to put out a new DEIS.
The final EIS is expected to be published on the federal registrar by August 1 and residents will only have 30 days to provide comments. Guthertz says the only comments that will be accepted are those that are substantive in nature - raising issues that haven't already been addressed. "They did indicate that there will be significant changes from the first draft, we don't know what those changes are yet," said the senator. "They also indicated that they will give more consideration to the question of the carriers coming through Apra Harbor because of the concerns that the people of Guam registered on the destruction of precious corals."
Officials also announced that Assistant Secretary of the Navy Jackalynne Pfannenstiel and White House Council on Environmental Quality chair Nancy Sutley are scheduled to return to the island on July 21 to provide a briefing to the governor and Legislature on recommendations contained in the final EIS. The Record of Decision is expected possibly as early as September and that will clear the way for major construction and other elements for the buildup to proceed.