Locals object to plans to expand base

TWENTYNINE PALMS — Morongo Basin residents and property owners came to a scoping meeting, part of the process of creating an Environmental Impact Statement examining an expansion of the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, with one question: “How will it affect me?”

They made the trip to the gym at Twentynine Palms Junior High School Dec. 3 to look at maps of alternative expansion plans and figure out if their property lies inside lines drawn by planners.

A Wonder Valley resident for 14 years who works at the Naval hospital, Donna Landry noted her property is within blocks of one piece of land being eyed by Corps officials.

“They have significant building and lights going on out there; now we have 24/7 lights going on out there,” she said. “This is very disturbing to a free spirit.”

Marine Capt. Amy Malugani explained the scoping meeting was part of the effort aimed at creating an Environmental Impact Statement.

“We want the public to share their information with us,” she said, noting Jan. 31 is the deadline to submit comments.

Doug Billings was at the open house representing contractors helping to prepare the impact statement. The draft impact statement, he said, is not due to be completed until spring of 2010.

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