Dozens of residents attended last night's public hearing on Guam Resource Recovery Partners application for a landfill permit currently pending with the Guam Environmental Protection Agency. While some residents came to support the company's efforts to build a landfill at Atantano, others made it clear they weren't buying what they called a sales pitch from GRRP.
GRRP Dave Sablan's said, "We can't answer questions about we don't want you to be our neighbor. This is effectively what you're asking us. We don't want you next door to us." Pastor Elwood Hurst responded by saying, "Well, we don't want a landfill, that's true." Sablan stated, "Well, pastor, it's our property, we have the right to develop it to support this community, we need a landfill for Guam."
There was plenty of debate during last night's public hearing as Guam Resource Recovery Partners attempted to sway Santa Rita residents with the idea of having a landfill in their backyard at Atantano. Sablan went on to say, "We're very open with our figures and our numbers We ave nothing to hide as people have accused us of doing, and we just want to be very open with what we want to do, we're trying to help the community."
But it was clear that many in the Santa Rita community, including Tina Diras, weren't buying it. Diras has been waiting for nearly 15 years for Chamorro Land Trust Commission property and was disheartened when she found out CLTC land in Santa Rita had been reserved for GRRP and its owner, Wagdy Gurguis who is not a Chamorro.
"You're stepping on the little people that are trying to better themselves," Diras noted. "I'm so hurt and so upset that you guys went ahead and did this and didn't even take into consideration that this is Chamorro Land Trust Commission property. It was developed proposed to help the indigenous people for residential for agricultural - not commercial - and you sidestepped us."
It's the same way Frank Leon Guerrero and his family feel as they contend a landfill will destroy their plans to use their 77 acres of zoned land to build strip malls and homes. "We feel that the local landowners have rights too. These landowners rights are being trampled, railroaded and steamed rolled over without any concern no matter what we say. Sometimes it's of little consequence. Why? But this family will continue to stand and fight for what is right," he said.
While the majority of Santa Rita residents who attended Tuesday night's public hearing were opposed to GRRP's efforts to build a landfill and possibly a waste-to-energy facility at Atantano, the hearing drew in others from around the island including Ordot resident John Gerber. "Who the hell wants a dump? But this is not a dump," he stated.
Gerber also said, "Dandan is not the place to put the dump because it's going to be another government-run dump. As soon as the feds pull out it's going to be back to the Government of Guam and there's no accountability there not going to monitor this thing. These guys are going to be not only under the eyes of you, the federal and local EPA and everybody involved.
Inarajan resident Jose Chargulaf also expressed his concerns with the Layon landfill going up in his backyard, where he claims 8 rivers and 7 wetlands exist. "It doesn't belong up there because in the report from Duenas & Associates, 'Although the footprint of the landfill is not located in the Inarajan watershed, it is located in the Inarajan River'."
With the comments provided on Tuesday, it's unclear whether the Guam Environmental Protection Agency will hold more public hearings on GRRP's application process.