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Record of Decision comes out Tuesday

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by Lannie Walker

Guam - Much of Guam is holding their breath awaiting the release of the Record of Decision, the final word on how the island's military buildup will go down.  The document's release is now less than 24 hours away.  Joint Guam Program Office's John Jackson says the ROD will be signed at 5pm Washington, DC time (7am Guam time).

"So when the people of Guam wakeup in the morning the Record of Decision should be signed," he explained.

Jackson says not to expect many surprises, saying, "What we saw in the Final Environmental Impact Statement and what we've briefed the public, as well as what we briefed the leaders of the Legislature, leaders of GovGuam, I think you will probably see in the Record of Decision."

Legislative Committee Chair on the Guam Military Buildup Senator Judi Guthertz does, however, hope the military will change their minds about a few key issues.  "That's the Pagat land and the Finegayan property, as well as the dredging of Apra Harbor - those things are of great concern to me and many other senators, but I'm not optimistic about that," she told KUAM News.

Jason Tedtaotao deputy director of the Guam Buildup Office is hopeful the ROD will be tailored to fit the requests of the local community and government.  "What we hope the ROD will include are many of the recommendations that the agencies, our local agencies, have submitted, the public comment for the FEIS, we also hope the comments from the public will be included, absolutely," he said.

Jackson says the Record of Decision caps the NEPA process, which required the environmental impacts statements.  "But it also opens the next phase which is the execution phase of what we are doing execution, meaning turning dirt writing contracts moving forward," he explained. Jackson adds the signing of the ROD does not signal the end of consultation on the buildup with GovGuam, a point to which senator Telo Taitague is holding firm.

"We have been told by General [David] Bice [JGPO's executive director] at still there are ongoing issues they are still going to address that important now.  Are they going to hold their word is another story, and we are sure in this Legislature going to make by this legislature they will hold their word," she said.

Jackson say one way the public can stay involved is through the Civilian Military Coordination Council, comprised of the public, GovGuam, and stakeholders who will give input into the planning and execution of the buildup.  "For instance," he noted, "if we are looking at road construction, obviously the public through comments through DPW, the Legislature, the Governor's Office as well as the CMCC, be able to comment on what's going on what is planned.

He calls the ROD a "living document" that can be adjusted as needed.  "You can't predict natural disasters, you can't always predict thing in the national security arena.  There will be things that cause us to change our schedule our plans as we move forward."  So as Guam waits in anticipation, Jackson says what residents will wake up to in the morning is a bright future.  "It's a new day, the dawn of really I think a period of prosperity for the people of Guam in multiple areas," he said.

The Record of Decision will be posted on online at GuamBuildupEIS.us.

Meanwhile, JGPO's Bice will be holding a press conference tomorrow morning to discuss the Record of Decision.

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