Sunday, January 31, 2010

Dissecting the DEIS #1: Be Loud, Be Heard

Dissecting Our Future on 8,000 Pages
by Marie Ada Auyong
The Marianas Variety
January 18, 2010

EIGHT thousand pages. Ninety days. If you started reading the draft environmental impact statement after its Nov. 20 release, you would have to read 90 pages daily to finish by the comments closing period of Feb. 17.

The DEIS lays out dramatic plans that will impact our lives and our island. We owe it to ourselves and future generations to make our voices heard.

Here are some ways to find out what is in the DEIS:

Read the newspaper. Pay attention to critiques by reputable sources. GovGuam agencies, legislative offices, and community groups have been reviewing the DEIS. Use their critiques in your comments.

Choose an issue and focus on it. The ocean, the hospital, immigration, land use. Call the GovGuam agency or senator’s office responsible for overseeing it, and ask how to get more information. Network with those in GovGuam agencies who focus on your issue.

Attend public workshops and hearings hosted by the legislative and governor’s offices. Ask questions and be persistent in getting an answer. If you don’t get an adequate response, put it in your comment.

Ask GovGuam agencies or community groups how you can help them respond to the DEIS. They need your support, too.

If you cannot attend a workshop and can gather together an audience, contact the governor’s office. Politely request that the governor’s Advisory Consulting Team or staffers outreach in those locations.

When writing your comment:

Find out where exactly in the DEIS (the volume and chapter) your issue is addressed and cite it.

Point out where you find misinformation, faulty reasoning, and/or vague statements. Point out where there’s no information. For example, the DEIS (Vol. 2, Chap. 18-16) acknowledges that population increases will negatively affect public service provision. It suggests “assisting GovGuam in funding for health services personnel.”

That key word, “assisting,” can mean many things—from actually giving money
to GovGuam to making a phone call to a federal agent who puts out contract requests. The outcomes from each scenario are very different.

How exactly will these planners “assist in funding”? Will these planners guarantee funds—and if not, what happens if the money does not come through?

If you find that someone else has already expressed the concerns you have about the DEIS, submit a comment again under your name.
When possible, suggest alternative plans or solutions. Or, write that you want “No Action” and why.

Submit your comment online at www.guambuildupeis.us if you can and save a hard copy for yourself. If possible, also submit it to JGPO, c/o NAVFAC Pacific, 258 Makalapa Drive, Suite 100, Pearl Harbor, HI
96860-3134. Attention: GPMO.

Be brave, be loud: we are Guam and we have a voice!