Tuesday, 07 March 2017

AG files lawsuit against Navy for Ordot Dump closure costs

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The Attorney General is suing the United States Navy to recover the millions of dollars GovGuam has expended on the closure of the Ordot Dump.

Guam - After 10 years and millions of dollars it took to close the Ordot Dump, Attorney General Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson has authorized a long overdue lawsuit against the United States Navy in 2nd Circuit Court, seeking to declare the Navy responsible for the environmental response costs incurred by GovGuam in closing the Ordot dump, as well as for future environmental-related costs since the Navy owned and operated the dump before and after WWII.

In a release, AG Barrett-Anderson says GovGuam has spent over $200 million dollars over the past decade, $56 million of which has already been expended to close the dump. She adds that a federal statute, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980, or CERCLA, makes a “potential responsible party” liable for remedial action. In an interview on Newstalk K57’s Mornings with Patti, the AG goes into detail about what that means.

"That’s a term used under CERCLA; a decision of record that was issued in 1988 by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. This federal statute has been around for 30 to 40 years, and it’s a process by which the United States government has put in money into a super fund and designated certain areas of the United States where there has been toxic dumping as a national priority list for cleanup. And Ordot Dump was put on that list in the early 80’s," Barrett-Anderson said.

This means Guam was on that Superfund list about 30 years ago for the cleanup of the Ordot Dump, but somehow did not receive funding. Barrett-Anderson says environmental attorneys from the mainland have been hired, and will be coming to Guam at the end of March to meet with lawmakers regarding the case. According to the AG, the law firm was hired on a contingency basis, which means GovGuam will not have to pay attorneys’ fees unless they win the case, and even then, the fee should come out of the money rewarded in the lawsuit.

She added, "if we have to go to trial, then it’ll be a matter of proving all our expenses at trial, plus interest. And it’s not just what we have expended; there is going to be an enormous amount of post-closure costs for Ordot Dump for the next 30 years."

The issue was included in Gov. Eddie Calvo’s State of the Island Address: "The federal court has tested all the patience left in the attorney general and myself. Hearing after hearing, no matter what we do to make right by our people and their health, the Court is unrelenting in sticking it to our people and letting an outside receiver make ridiculous profit at our expense... We are suing the federal government for its responsibility over the true source of contamination of our natural resources."

1 comment

  • Comment Link Comment by : bg1986 (Thursday, 09 March 2017 07:54)

    There's more chance of wringing water from a rock than winning this case. The only people who will walk away happy will be the lawyers. This is a total waste of tax money in my opinion.

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