DOD Un-Likely To Extend FEIS Comment Period; But Will Take Comments Until Record of Decision Issued

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Guam – It appears that the Department of Defense will not be granting a formal extension for the comment period on the FEIS and they are still referring to it as a wait period.

They will however, continue to accept comments up until the record of decision is signed. The signing is tentatively scheduled for September 10th. We asked the Joint Guam Program Office today whether they would grant an extension on the comment period on the Final Environmental Impact statement of the buildup.

Attorneys representing the national and Guam Historic Preservation Trusts and Congresswoman Madeline Bordallo have both requested that the comment period be extended by an additional thirty days. Today JGPO provided a response via email stating “The 30 day wait period will conclude on August 28th (EST). We encourage everyone to submit their comments soonest if they have not done so already. Comments may be considered after August 28th based on the actual date of release of the record of decision.”

In this statement JGPO is still referring to the comment period as a wait period. In his letter to U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Navy Jacky Pfannenstiel attorney Mathew Adams of Sonnenshein Nath and Rosenthal said that the 30 day period should be referred to as a comment period according to the NEPA act.

He also requested for an additional 30 days for the comment period because of the confusion caused by JGPO’s statements that it was considered a wait period instead of a comment period. Guam Preservation Trust Director Joe Quinata told PNC news via phone that they’re attorneys have not received an official response on their request.

However, the response from JGPO makes it clear that August 28th is still the deadline.

In fact the Governor’s Buildup Office has already been preparing to meet this deadline. Jason TedTaoTao explains that they have been working with all nineteen Mayors to collect comments on the FEIS. These comments will be compiled along with comments from the agencies and the Governor.

“It’s our understanding that we have 30 days from the 28th or the end of last month and we’ll air on the side of caution and provide these comments to JGPO D.C. by the end of this week,” he said.

Senator Judi Guthertz who chairs the military buildup has also submitted her comments. “I’m not optimistic that they will again change anything before the record of decision but what I am very proud of is that literally hundreds of people in our community took the time out to share their comments and their concerns.”

Guam Preservation Trust Director Joe Quinata also told PNC news that they and their attorneys will wait until the record of decision is signed before deciding what steps to take next. They have made it clear that a lawsuit is an option.