Guam - Tonight, the first in a series of public scoping meetings kicks off in Santa Rita at the old McCool School on the expanded Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the live-fire training range complex alternatives along with locations for the main cantonment and family housing for the Marine Corps relocation. 

Joint Guam Program Office director Joe Ludovici says the series of scoping meetings on the expanded SEIS will be similar to one held this past spring featuring a more open house-style for the community to meet with subject matter experts and provide comments on the proposed alternatives being considered. "The purpose of this is to have a one on one with the experts, the Marines and the environmental planners and facility planners to look at the alternatives of the main cantonment and the firing range," he said.

He says no question will go unanswered tonight and all comments will help define the scope of what is studied in the SEIS. As we reported, there are now seven preliminary alternatives for a live fire training range which include 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 on the northwest coast of Guam. Additionally, the SEIS will also cover five preliminary alternatives identified for the main cantonment and family housing.

"I think this is a good opportunity for the people of Guam to have a good discussion about how they can help us shape this for what they think is a good long-term strategic benefit for Guam," said Ludovici.

Ludovici says this time around, he's more optimistic this time due to more support from Congress, along with elected officials and the people of Guam. However, he doesn't want to underestimate the challenges that may arise. He explained, "We're going to have a number of issues we're going to talk about at these scoping meetings-traffic, environmental and cultural issues, we're going to continue to have to address this. It's snot going to be an easy fix."

He adds the laydown adjustment of the Marine relocation is a more manageable size. He adds the lower number along with the change of method on the proposed action is the reason behind this expanded SEIS. Meanwhile, according to JGPO environmental director Dan Cecchini, in addition to the comments he hopes as all the comments come in the process, hopefully it will be clear what alternatives are proffered over others and can be featured in the Draft SEIS set for early 2014.

He said, "For a variety of reasons maybe costs, environmental issues to include the full gamut to include cultural resources, natural resources, endangered species, traffic, socioeconomics."

Ludovici meanwhile adds the alternatives that best meet the military mission will be the priority. Another scoping meeting will be held Friday, November 9 from 5pm to 8pm at Okkodo High School and on Saturday, November 10 at the University of Guam Field House from 12pm to 3pm.