Draft SEIS comment period coming to a close - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Draft SEIS comment period coming to a close

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 by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - The clock is ticking. Island residents have a few more hours to comment on the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement on the Marines relocation.

If you haven't had a chance to submit your comments, you have until 11:59 tonight local time. Joint Guam Program Office deputy director Major Darren Alvarez says ever since the document was released on April 18, it's been a positive experience. "I actually think we have had a great mix of people interacting with the entire process for, against, identifying the problems, identifying the goods, the bad, the local government has been incredibly involved, lots of activist groups, again on both sides of the issue have been really involved the entire time and we're very happy with the public engagement," he stated.

While he could not confirm just how many comments were submitted, he says they range in the hundreds. And despite the commenting period extended an additional 15 days, Alvarez says the total is less than the original SEIS. The Draft SEIS consisted of three public meetings throughout the island, speaking engagements, public hearings at the Guam Legislature and community forums. Alvarez says the most challenging part of the process was getting people to understand the nearly 1,400 page document. "And that was a problem for us," he admitted.

He further welcomed the input from local organizations and island senators who criticized the Draft SEIS for its perceived negative impacts. He continued, "Everyone can always have their opinion, there's no debate about that 0509 there are definitely things that were promised and committed to in the document and there could be more that happens with the final EIS so we're just happy with all the interaction that occurred."

So what happens next? "Once the comment period is closed, we're going to go into all the comments, define them out, see whether or not further study is required depending on the nature of the comment, do lots of work in that nature and then actually that will help us draft the final EIS that we will have out in the beginning of 2015," he said.

After the final EIS, a record of decision will be issued shortly thereafter. Any comments that are post marked today or submitted on the GuamBuildupEIS.us website will be accepted and included in the review. 

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