Guam - On the eve of new and expanded Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement that will go public tomorrow, the Joint Guam Program Office held a briefing for island leaders and the media this afternoon to talk about some of the changes that are in the revised proposal. It was in April, the U.S and Japan announced a revised agreement outlining the plans for the relocation of U.S. Marines from Okinawa to Guam.
It was at that time it was announced that instead of 8,600 Marines, 5,000 would be relocated here, two-thirds of which will be rotational. With the smaller footprint JGPO needed to relook at its alternatives for the citing of a live-fire training range and cantonement or family housing.
This afternoon island leaders were notified that there are now seven preliminary alternatives for the live fire training range which include the already discussed Route 15a and Route 15b, three alternative locations either on or adjacent to Naval Magazine, with the two new ones at Andersen Air Force Base's Northwest Field and NCTS Finegayan heading to the west side of the island.
As for the cantonment and family housing, it was announced that all housing will be on military footprint including AAFB, NCTS (which was the original preferred location), variations of NSTC Finegayan with housing at South Finegayan, Navy and Air Force property in Radio, Barrigada and lastly at Apra Harbor Naval Base Guam.
JGPO deputy director Major Darren Alvarez said, "And although preliminary alternatives are identified, they may be refined throughout the SEIS process, and that means things can fall out and things can be added. Right now we have our seven range alternatives and our five main cantonment housing; some could fall out for reasons we don't know and can be added for reasons we don't know."
Alvarez adds that some actions of the 2010 Record of Decision would not change due to this expanded SEIS including training in Tinian, the air combat elements at Andersen Air Force Base, water embarkation at Apra Harbor and non-live fire training at Andersen South. Today's briefing kicks off the scoping period, which opens tomorrow.
The scoping meetings are set for November 8 at the old McCool School in Santa Rita; November 9 at Okkodo High School; and November 10 at the University of Guam. The Draft SEIS along with public hearings are anticipated in early 2014 with the final SEIS late that year.