JGPO Deputy Director Major Darren Alvarez Says Guam Military Buildup Still Moving Forward
Guam – The Guam military buildup has been delayed. The Record of Decision for the Guam military buildup will likely be out sometime this August.
Officials say the Record of Decision will be out in late summer. Which means it will likely be out in August. Before the Record of Decision comes out the Final SEIS has to be released. After the Final SEIS is released they must wait 30 days before releasing the Record of Decision. Late summer is a significant delay as the final Supplemental Environmental Impact statement was originally due out at the beginning of 2015. “It’s continued to push due to different reasons. We’ve had some sequestration issues we had some other things that came up and right now what we’re in is consultations federal consultations,” said Joint Guam Program Office Deputy Director Major Darren Alvarez.
Specifically these consultations have been with the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife. Fish and Wildlife is concerned with habitat destruction of the Micronesian Kingfisher and other endangered species. “Those consultations are just about concluded and they are really our last consultations that we need to do and the big concern that we are looking at is making sure that there is enough habitat on the Northern part of the island to support the re-introduction of the Micronesian Kingfisher which is an endangered species – a bird,” said Major Alvarez.
The Micronesian Kingfisher or Sihek in Chamoru is no longer found in the wild on Guam. Instead the birds are being bred and kept in captivity until Guam is able to release the birds back into the wild. Some of the areas that the military will have to clear like the firing range for Marines at the Northwest field and the main cantonment area for Marines in Finegayan are prime habitat for the Micronesian Kingfisher or Sihek.
So with this delay what will happen to the Guam military buildup? “This buildup is continuing forward,” said Major Alvarez.
The JGPO Deputy Director notes that DOD has already begun spending money on buildup related projects for example the restorations to the Agana bridge, the port road, and the Rt 1 and Rt 8 intersection are all DOD funded.