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Roundtable held on Draft EIS

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by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - Its marked the first official meeting to publicly conversate about the Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the military buildup released by the Joint Guam Program Office earlier this month. The legislature held a roundtable meeting to allow the community come forward to provide comment on the changes from the previous EIS to the new one.

Last night at the legislature a roundtable discussion was held to discuss the main differences between the 2010 final EIS and 2014 Draft Supplemental EIS. Some of those proposed differences include fewer Marines and their dependents that will be relocated from Okinawa to Guam, gradual construction activity, no land will now be needed to be acquired for the main cantonment for the marines and plans for a live fire training range complex will be moved from Pagat to Ritidian.

We Are Guahan's Leevin Camacho was among those that led the fight to protect the ancient Chamorro village of Pagat. "The biggest issue for me is not necessarily the differences but the things that have stayed the same specifically the lack of a commitment from DOD to pay for impacts on the island in particular civilian impacts," he said. Camacho pointed to the fact that Guam hasn't seen a penny out the $21 million included in the programmatic agreement for a cultural repository in Guam.

Representing an organization called Our Islands Are Sacred Victoria Leon Guerrero says like Pagat the other preferred alternatives in the Draft SEIS are just as sacred. "So there is a list in the SEIS that identifies just for the cantonment and family housing alone there are 11 different sites that contain artifacts that the latte pre-contact and post contact period so this is really significant because these spaces are sacred and we need to protect them," she said.

For Route 3 residents like former senator Larry Kasperbauer and his family he has many questions about the Draft SEIS since he and his family could now be impacted. "A resident land owner of area along route 3 for over 40 years, married to Carmen, who will be 80 years old next year who is very, very sick and tired of trying to fight and deal with this for all of these years. We who live along Route 3 have asked for a meeting for somebody to tell us what the heck is going on and how is it going to effect our life along Route 3," he said.

Kasperbauer along with the rest of the island will hopefully will be able to get answers may have regarding the Supplemental EIS when the Joint Guam Program Office hosts their public meetings next month.

In the meantime Camacho encourages island residents to read the document, saying, "We can't be less critical just because its an improvement over what happened the first time."

You can view the document on GuamBuildupEIS.us. Adelup also released a position statement on the EIS.

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