Guam – Senator Aline Yamashita, PhD will hold a public hearing Tuesday, 08 March, at 9 a.m. in the Guam Legislature Public Hearing Room to receive testimony on Resolution No. 24-31 (COR), requesting the Joint Region Marianas to implement noise mitigation measures to reduce the impact of military aircraft activities.
Although Sen. Yamashita, a Republican, the minority party in the legislature, does not have a standing committee, she is holding the hearing in compliance with Rule VII, Sec. 7.03 (e), of the Legislative Standing Rules and the mandates of 2 GCA § 2103, which require author’s of substantive resolutions to hold public hearings if the resolution is sent to the President of the United States or a member of the US Congress.
Since the resolution’s introduction on February 14th, members of the community have contacted the senator’s office expressing concern about the impacts of noise produced by military aircraft.
“ We have invited residents, our mayors, the military, and other stakeholders to provide testimony,’ says Sen. Yamashita, “in an effort to prevent what occurred in Japan; to learn from their experience. We want to protect the physical and mental health of our people, work proactively & collaboratively to install safety measures in our homes and community.”
The resolution’s goal is to collaboratively address the potentially adverse issues associated with the Guam Build Up. Some of the issues to be addressed during the hearing are options for noise abatement, including:
* The military’s voluntarily compliance with a flight circular issued by the FAA in 2004 – where pilots fly at altitudes higher than the minimum permitted near “noise sensitive areas;” and,
* Possible implementation of noise mitigation programs similar to the A.B. Won Pat Guam International Airport Authority (GIAA) residential sounds solution program that provides for grants to home owners to participate in a noise abatement program, including sound-insulation procedures, if their residences are determined to fall within the FAA approved Noise Exposure Map;
Last year, in a letter to the Secretary of the Navy, the US EPA cited that “the DEIS appears to underestimate the significance of noise impacts. The noise impacts from the Anderson AFB ISR Strike DEIS alone were substantial, with that analysis showing that 2,310 people off-base will be exposed to sounds 65 dBA (A-weighted sound level measured in decibels) and above, with 552 potentially highly annoyed by the change, representing roughly ten times more people experiencing these impacts than at present.”
Additionally, in 2009, an Okinawan high court awarded residents approximately $57 million because of the noise impacts from nearby Kadena Air Force Base. The residents also asked the military to ban late-night and early-morning flights.