Friday, August 31, 2007

Guam’s own shock and awe

The U.S. Department of Defense is getting ready to transfer 8000 marines and 9,000 family members from Okinawa to Guam. Add to that thousands of contractors, support personnel and you have the makings, of "a huge shock to our system ...." according to the testimony of Trina Leberer, marine conservation coordinator for the Micronesia Program of The Nature Conservancy.

Lebere's testimony was part of a hearing in August by the House Natural Resources Committee, Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, on the "U.S. Military Buildup on Guam and Challenges Facing the Community."

The testimony, in total, outlines the impact this build-up will have the enormous cost imposed to expand utilities, improve roads, and other services.

What follows are excerpts from some of the testimony.

Facilities must be constructed for the 8,000 Marines and 9,000 family members. It is anticipated that such construction will require 12,000 to 15,000 construction workers, with 75 percent of such workers coming from outside of Guam.

The increase in Guam’s population, by an estimated 35,000 to 40,000 people or over 20 percent including military and family members, construction workers, and other public and private sector service providers, will create opportunities.

-- David Cohen, deputy assistant secretary, Dept. of Interior.

Our preference is to remain on land owned by the federal government, but at this stage we have not determined whether our requirements will fit on existing DoD lands.

-- David Brice, executive director for the Joint Guam Program Office, and the person responsible Department of Defense planning.

Guam’s population is expected to increase from 168,564 in 2005 to 180,692 in 2010, without factoring any increase to the local military population by the U.S. Department of Defense.

The Government of Guam has estimated the costs to support the military buildup at an estimated $1.1. Billion dollars.

-- Felix Camacho, Guam governor Our water and power systems are at near capacity; our roads are in need of repair; there is an immediate need to close Ordot dump and to open a new sanitary landfill, and our only civilian hospital has been struggling to meet the needs of the current population. Imagine the impact of additional military personnel and support staff and their families totaling 30,000 people on our ailing infrastructure.

-- Senator Judith T. Won Pat, minority leader, Guam Legislature

The increase of vehicle traffic throughout the island on the major roadways is definitely a concern by all motorists.

-- Melissa Savares, mayor of Dededo

... our people’s voice really do not count.

-- Hope Cristobal, University of Guam, adjunct professor who teaches the history of Guam.

The Districts are also recommending that the military buildup address the issue of alternative types of renewable energy generation such as bio energy, ocean wave energy, wind power and other sources of renewable energy as part of its buildup operations.

-- Benny P. San Nicolas, chairman of the Southern Soil & Water Conservation District

A majority (71%) of Guam residents polled support an increased military presence, 14% opposed, and 15% were either neutral (9%) or don’t know (6%).

-- Stephen Ruder, chairman, Guam Chamber of Commerce

For an island of only 212 square miles, this will be a huge shock to our system ....

-- Trina Leberer, marine conservation coordinator for the Micronesia Program of The Nature Conservancy.

No comments:

Post a Comment