FEIS comments gathered by Buildup Office - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

FEIS comments gathered by Buildup Office

by Lannie Walker

Guam - In a couple of days the waiting period following the release of the Final Environment Impact Statement will end. Local group and government agencies continue efforts to make sure their concerns on the buildup are heard.

Jason Tedtaotao from the Guam Buildup Office spreads out the 21 comments they received on the Final EIS from residents; the comments will be included with Governor Felix Camacho's official comment to be sent to Washington this Friday.  Tonight the Chamorro Affairs Office and the Guam Council of Arts and Humanities are meeting with lawmakers to discuss their concerns over the Final EIS.

Chamorro Affairs President Sylvia Flores said, "We need to look at medicinal plants and trees - the surahanas won't be able to find these medicinal plants.  A lot of them are practicing, but it's not out in the open and a lot of the local people go to these are the things that are not really taken seriously in the Draft EIS."

Flores says although the agencies comments on the Draft EIS were not initially included in the comment section of the Final EIS the agency hopes their concerns will be addressed by the Department of Defense.  But Flores says no matter how the military conducts the buildup much of the responsibility to preserve Guam's culture lies in hands of its residents.

"Our biggest concern is to make sure going forward that we as a community embrace what we can do with the funding we have and moving forward, advocating more and more advocating and how we can preserve and perpetuate our culture," she said.

As for Patrick Bamba, acting executive director of CAHA, growth outlined in the Final EIS is a main concern.  "CAHA partnership agreement our grant per se is based on population as the population grows are they going to have accurate numbers for us, so we can submit it through the National Endowment for the Arts," he told KUAM News.

Bamba added, "Our partners in the community - which are the artists, the seafarers, the carvers - all of them are members of these organizations. We Are Guahan, TASI, Taotaotano, they have taken a position and as government agencies we feel we should support them on their mission." And part of that mission includes protecting Pagat Village.

Meanwhile We Are Guahan member Attorney Leevin Camacho says the group will submit comments on the Final EIS, asking for specific things.  He said, "Provide Volume 10 in a way some one who is looking for their name can do a search or provide for more time for us to review and determine if the DoD actually responded to our comments and suggests not only by individuals, but by GovGuam agencies."

Both Congresswoman Madeline Bordallo and the National Historic Preservation Trust Office have also requested to the Navy that the waiting period following the release on the Final EIS be extended. However, no extension has been promised.

Tedtaotao says the Guam Buildup Office will extend their deadline to accept comments through the mayors offices or online at feis@guam.com.

The deadline to submit comments directly to the Joint Guam Program Office is this Saturday. You may do so by logging on to GuamBuildupEIS.us.

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