EPA at odds with AG over illegal dump fire - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

EPA at odds with AG over illegal dump fire

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by Lannie Walker

Guam - The illegal dump fire in Yigo has sparked major friction between the Guam Environmental Protection Agency and the Attorney General's Office, both pointing fingers as to who is to blame for a lack of enforcement. The case the case of an illegal dump in Yigo remains at a standstill.

The Guam EPA told KUAM News earlier this week the agency has submitted all the necessary paperwork to the AG's Office for prosecution of the dump's owner, Joseph Taitano. Today Deputy Attorney General Pat Mason says that's not exactly true as the AG's Office is still waiting on certain documents, noting, "The AG's Office was never made aware of any re-inspection or remedial plan by GEPA; it's just been pending in that status." 

He says the re-inspection was supposed to take place on May 26, 2009, with the report of the re-inspection to be submitted to the AG's Office by June 15 of that year and the Taitano's remedial plan due by June 30.  "The AG's Office did follow-up with GEPA," Mason confirmed, "but there was no response."

Today GEPA Administrator Lorilee Crisostomo admits the necessary paperwork is still with her agency's board, saying, "And so that's why we've been.  I've requested the board of directors if they can have a special board meeting because it was at a special board meeting session.  So we have to bring it back to a special board meeting and we need to get about the quorum of the board members."

Earlier this week GEPA Spokesperson Gerry Cruz eluded to personnel changes with in the AG's Office as a possible cause for the delay in prosecution, but Mason denies this adding the case is now with Assistant AG Steve Newman.  "It would not have anything to do with the lawyers being assigned because there was a lawyer assigned," he said.

As for what documents still need to be submitted, the two agencies will now have a chance get on the same page.  Crisostomo and the AGO were meeting this afternoon to determine what needs to be done in order to move forward with the case.

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