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Community can comment on military buildup

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by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - If you've got something to say about the military buildup, this is your opportunity as the Department of Defense today issued its notice of intent to prepare an expanded Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement related to the Marines' relocation from Okinawa to Guam. "So today is the Notice of Intent for a Supplemental Impact Study to look at additional range options for the Marine Corps Plan on Guam and the housing and cantonment area for the new marine numbers that were agreed upon in April this year," said Mark Calvo.

It was in April it was announced that Japan and the United States agreed to reduce the number of Marines to be relocated from Okinawa to Guam from around 8,000 to 5,000, two-thirds of which are to be rotational. As a result, adjustments had to be made to the 2010 final EIS - specifically involving where to construct the Marines' live-fire training range and the location for their barracks and family housing units.

According to the SEIS, two additional locations are being proposed for the live-fire training range aside from the two alternatives near Pagat and three at Naval Magazine, the Defense Department is now proposing Northwest Field and the NCTS Finegayan area on the northwest coast of Guam.

He added, "What's also reassuring is in the presentation yesterday is the Navy is still committed to the four pillars that were agreed upon by undersecretary work and the governor of Guam in January last year. And one of those key agreements was a promise to allow 24-hour, 7-day a week unimpeded access to Pagat Village, if there was a range there."

As for where the Marines and their families will reside, according to the SEIS all housing will be on military property including Andersen Air Force Base, NCTS Finegayan, South Fin, and Radio, Barrigada.

Joint Guam Program Office deputy director Major Darren Alvarez said, "Obviously is the base is going to be smaller, its going to fit on NCTS Finegayan which was our preferred location before. However, because it is smaller it may fit in other locations, what we're going to do is going to look at all the viable alternatives that the DOD has right now."

Scoping meetings on the SEIS 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. JGPO is encouraging everyone to participate and provide comments.

"We want this to be as open as a process as possible, we want to be able to look as much as we can," said Calvo, adding, "the deadline is December 10."

For more information go to Guambuildup eis.us.

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