Hagåtña, Guam – Governor Lou Leon Guerrero has directed the executive departments and agencies under her authority who received invitations from the Guam Legislature to participate in its upcoming town hall meeting on the proposed missile defense system.
In a letter to Speaker Therese Terlaje, Governor Leon Guerrero provided assurance that the administration has the same information already available to the public and the Guam Legislature. That information can be found online at https://www.mda.mil/system/eiamd/ which is additionally mirrored on Governor Leon Guerrero’s website at https://governor.guam.gov/militaryaffairs/.
Speaker Terlaje has raised concerns that there is not enough information on the proposed actions for the public to properly comment on. However, it should be noted that this scoping phase is only the beginning of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process. During this period, the public and the government come together to identify important issues and define the scope of the EIS.
In her letter, Governor Leon Guerrero reminded Speaker Terlaje that during the previous scoping process for the relocation of Marines to Guam, there were few specifics or details given about the proposed actions. The details were instead released in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), followed by another comment period before the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) was released. After the FEIS, there was an additional comment period before the Record of Decision (ROD) was signed. It is understood by the administration that the same procedure would be used for this EIS, as it is necessary to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
According to the map released by the Department of Defense (DoD), there are 20 proposed sites for the missile defense system across the island. Although the map lacks specific details, one of the sites identified in the South appears to be outside of DoD’s current footprint.
“I spoke to Admiral Nicholson about this southern site that is outside of DoD’s footprint, and he has indicated that they intend to lease land from private property owners in that area. I, however, do not know the specific parcels of land they are looking to lease or who those private landowners may be,” said Governor Leon Guerrero.
In order to submit scoping comments, Governor Leon Guerrero has assembled critical regulatory agencies to review the “Notice of Intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for an enhanced integrated air and missile defense system on Guam” and identify issues that should be evaluated in the EIS. During this scoping period, the public, including elected officials, such as our local senators and government agencies, may provide comments to help the federal agencies ensure the analysis of issues of interest to the public and identify environmental concerns for consideration in the EIS. Governor Leon Guerrero is encouraging members of the Guam Legislature to identify issues and submit comments of their own for the current scoping period for consideration in the ultimate impact analysis.
“I am confident that our administration will submit very important and pertinent comments for the scoping period, and I encourage everyone in the public to submit comments of their own. This scoping process is meant for DoD to determine what the public would like for them to study in their EIS. There will be more opportunities to comment on the specifics of their plans once those specifics are finalized and released to the public when the Draft EIS is published,” said Governor Leon Guerrero.
While Government of Guam agencies under her purview will be participating in the town hall meeting, the governor will not be able to attend.