Posted: Feb 26, 2010 7:53 AM TST Updated: Feb 26, 2010 7:53 AM TST
Guam – Responding to the USEPA’s concerns with the Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the military buildup, Joint Guam Program Office Spokesperson Major Neil Ruggerio says although they have worked closely with the EPA and other federal and local agencies during the development of the DEIS, they fully anticipated that formal agency comments would point out deficiencies and areas requiring revision.
The USEPA found the DEIS to be “environmentally unsatisfactory”. Ruggerio says the Department of Defense is committed to working with the EPA and other federal agencies to fund solutions for existing issues on Guam.
In reality, no matter how long the military would have taken to put together the DEIS (bear in mind that the released proposal took several years to complete), for a project of this scope there is no way that the finished (draft) product could be able to assuage the concerns of “all comers.” Of course there are going to be problems with the DEIS and the buildup it describes – it involves a great deal of change. Of course JGPO expected “pushback.” What will be interesting to see is whether the controversy over the buildup in the wake of the release of the DEIS will actually succeed in materially changing the scope of the buildup project or if it effectively slows the project implementation timeline. Construction is supposed to start this year, but the DEIS has to be approved first. I would bet that the real impact will come from the Japanese and what they decide this May about the U.S. Marine airbase on Okinawa, not from issues like this coming from Guam.