Guam – The Department of Defense has extended the comment period on the Final EIS at least until September 3rd.
In a release to the media Thursday Paula Conhain of the Joint Guam Program Office explains that Acting Assistant Secretary of the Navy Roger Natsuhara has responded to Congresswoman Madeline Bordallo’s request for an extension on the FEIS review period. Here is their full statement.
“The Joint Guam Program Office (JGPO) today announced that the Department of Navy will take no action on the record of decision (ROD) for the Guam/CNMI military relocation until after September 3. All comments received on the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) will be reviewed and considered as the ROD is developed. This announcement comes as acting Assistant Secretary of the Navy Roger Natsuhara responded to Congresswoman Madeline Bordallo’s request for an extension to allow the community time to review the FEIS and for the Assistant Secretary of the Navy to consider comments received.”
Meanwhile the “We Are Guahan” coalition submitted their comments yesterday. “We Are Guahan” is asking that DOD hold off on the entire Record of Decision until they address three major issues with the FEIS. “Our position is that they haven’t followed the law and everyone needs to follow the law and until they do follow the law follow nepa and all the requirements that they not move forward with the record of decision,” said Camacho.
One of their issues is that the comment section or volume ten of the FEIS was made up of six binders full of information. Camacho says there simply was not enough time to sift through this enormous volume. In addition to this there was no way to find any one specific comment. “DOD didn’t provide it in a way that I can easily locate my comment so I would have to personally sift through four thousand pages to see how DOD responded to my comment and that’s just not acceptable. We did ask them why they didn’t make it available so you could search them by your name and they said they didn’t have the technology to do so,” explained Camacho.
Another issue according to Camacho is that DOD hasn’t looked at all reasonable alternatives for Pagat. The third major issue that “We Are Guahan” has is that the FEIS didn’t offer actual measures for mitigation. “Under NEPA they’re required to provide mitigation measures and what DOD did in the Final EIS is they didn’t offer any actual measures and what they said is we’re going to try to help GovGuam find funding and that’s not gonna cut it. That’s just not gonna cut it. They’re gonna bring as few as forty thousand and as many as 79 thousand people to our island and they need to take some responsibility for the impacts that are gonna happen on our schools on our housing and public health services like the hospital,” said Camacho.
As you may recall on Tuesday, JGPO responded to PNC’s questions about the possibility of an extension by saying that the wait period would end on August 28th as scheduled but they may continue receiving comments until the Record of Decision is signed.