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November 21, 2011 @ 8:08 pm

Beyond the Fence Episode 93

Episode 93 “Military Noise Mitigation: Strategies of Community Resistance and Engagement”

(hosted by Dr. Vivian Dames with production assistance of Daisy Demapan) airs 11/18/11.

An increased military presence in Guam means increases in noise related to construction projects, DoD buildup generated traffic, DoD operations, and live fire and maneuver training activities.  Noise mitigation is a concern on both sides of the fence that has been discussed in Civilian-Military Task Force meetings, Environmental Impact Studies, DoD scoping meetings, public hearings, community meetings, Environmental Impact Studies and now the draft Compatibility Sustainability Study (CSS) recently released by the Matrix Design Group, Inc., an interdisciplinary firm which provides engineering consulting, including project management and client representation, to both private and public sectors.  The Guam CSS is an effort “to prevent or reduce potential incompatibilities between military installations and surrounding areas while accommodating  new growth and economic development, sustaining economic vitality, protecting public health  and safety, and protecting the operational missions of the installations.”

While some may view flight noise, for example, as a welcome ‘sound of freedom’, other residents ---especially those in the northern heavily populated villages of Yigo and Dededo where the military buildup is concentrated --- are increasingly concerned about immediate and long-term cumulative effects of DoD generated noise and activities on their quality of life, health and safety, and property value. The US Environmental Protection Agency validates these concerns in their finding that the final EIS for the relocation of Marines from Okinawa to Guam underestimates the extent of DoD related noise  and their impacts on the civilian community.

Today’s episode examines different, yet inter-related, strategies of community resistance and engagement in recent months regarding military noise mitigation:  through the local legislative process,  public protest, and community education to promote public input on the draft CSS.

We begin with an interview with Senator/Dr. Aline Yamashita (Aline4families@gmail.com), a first- term Republican senator and author of Resolution 24-31 signed by the Governor in March 2010.   This is followed by an interview with Maga Haga Trini Torres (trini@ite.net), spokesperson for the Taotaomona Native Rights Group which organized protests on Ocotber 12 and 13 seeking action on Resolution 24-31,  and statements from members on location as they protested the relocation of fighter jet training exercise from Okinawa to Guam at the front gate of Anderson Air Force Base.  We conclude with comments from Leevin Camacho (leevin@weareguahn.com) about why WeAreGuahan is organizing additional community education meetings on the  draft CSS and from Jen Crisostomo (jen@weareguahan.com), who facilitated the small group discussion on noise concerns and mitigation alternatives at the November 16 Yigo village meeting.  Other ‘compatibility sustainability’ findings and recommendations of Matrix Design Group, Inc. discussed at this meeting were affordable housing and land use and health (which is addressed by Matrix in a separate CSS study).

Matrix Design Group, Inc, has announced that the deadline for public comment on the draft CSS is extended from December 9, 2010 to February 10, 2011.  [To view related documents and to submit comments on line go to www.one.guam.gov/ or e-mail css@oneguam.com. For more information about WeAreGuahan community education meetings on the draft CSS and other activities, go to www.weareguahan.com/]

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