JGPO announced ROD release delay - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

JGPO announced ROD release delay

by Lannie Walker

Guam - The final detail on how the military will handle the buildup on Guam was set to be released on Friday, but today the Navy announced they will hold off for just over a week more - giving Guam officials hope their concerns will be addressed.  It seems residents on Guam and the CNMI will have to wait at least ten more days before they can review the Record of Decision for the military buildup.   

The Joint Guam Program Office has announced that the delay is necessary, as Governor Felix Camacho's chief of staff, George Bamba, spoke with the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Jacklynne Pfhannestiel.  "They decided to postpone the issuance of the Record of Decision for one week to take into account all the comments that were received; one especially that she cited was the governor letter to them to the Department of the Navy," he explained.

But a letter by the Guam Historic Preservation Trust and the National Trust for Historic Preservation may have even more to do with the postponement. KUAM News spoke with Joe Quinata, chief program officer of the Guam Preservation Office.  "The fact that the Guam Preservation Trust and the National Trust for Historic Preservation might take them to court if they did not look into look into what they were supposed to be doing in the beginning - those are different factors or different reasons they might delay," he said.

Attorneys for the trusts have sent a letter to the Navy, informing them legal action is being considered if the military doesn't take the focus off Pagat Village as a site for a marine firing and training range.  Quinata says they have not yet received a response.

JGPO states that the consultation process under the National Historic Preservation Act and Endangered Species Act are still ongoing to ensure that all comments received on the final environmental impact statement are fully considered.

Paul Shintaku is the director of Guam Buildup Office and is pleased with the delay - but wishes it were longer.  "We would like more we would hope the assist secretary would be very deliberative in decision before putting her signature on the Record of Decision," he said.

The ROD will detail the relocation plans for the Marines from Okinawa to Guam, the establishment of an army air missile defense task force, and the construction of a new deep draft wharf to support a transient nuclear powered aircraft carrier. A waiting period on the Final Environmental Impact Statement ended on August 28.

"To do it with in that short timeframe, to come to a decision, appeared a little rushed," Shintaku shared.

And the news, while welcome, for some was not expected by many.  Quinata said, "It's quite surprising that there is a delay because there has been lots of pressure for a lot of the officials to get things going, and my reaction to the delay is it is really hopeful hoping that they read our comments carefully and they respect what the people wish."

Residents will soon find out if this will in fact turn out to be case, the Record of Decision is now anticipated to be released on September 20.

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