Crisostomo steps down as EPA administrator - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Crisostomo steps down as EPA administrator

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by Mindy Aguon

Guam - In the midst of a scathing management audit, calls for her resignation, and a lawsuit over the failure to submit documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act, Guam Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lorilee Crisostomo submitted her resignation on Wednesday.  According to the Governor's Office, Crisostomo submitted her resignation to the board, the governor and the lieutenant governor late this afternoon. 

Her decision to step down comes just a few days after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a response to Crisostomo, saying they stand behind their management audit that noted severe mismanagement of federal funds.  Crisostomo defended the agency and the actions of her employees of how they managed the money, calling the report inaccurate.

In their response, the USEPA stood behind the audit findings.  Region IX administrator Jared Blumenfeld noted that they've legitimate concerns over the Guam EPA's management of federal funds in administering its programs based on facts and other information.  He stressed that they have a fiduciary responsibility to ensure that federal funds are appropriately spent.

As for Crisostomo's claims of racial and gender discrimination by the USEPA Pacific Office, Blumenfeld said her claims were unsupported by facts and said should Crisostomo have facts to bring them to his attention for further consideration.

Reacting to the news of her resignation after making numerous calls for her to step down, oversight chair Senator Rory Respicio tells KUAM News he is unaware of the details surrounding Crisostomo's resignation-whether she was ordered by the governor or whether she tendered it on her own.  Respicio says with Crisostomo's departure, the agency can now take the positive step of moving forward and addressing the mandates that it has. 

He is hopeful the governor's appointment of a new EPA administrator will meet the necessary qualifications.

In a statement issued late this afternoon by the Governor's Office, effective tomorrow Guam EPA Deputy Administrator Bradley Dunagan will serve as acting administrator pending the selection of a replacement by the agency's board.

The issue surrounding Bali Steel in was one of the reasons why Senator Respicio along with the Mayors Council of Guam wanted Crisostomo to step down.  And today, evidently Bali Steel still hadn't heard from the Guam EPA on information relative to their latest inspections.

The board during their last meeting wanted the situation with the private company resolved as soon as possible.  The Mayors Council was frustrated with Crisostomo and the agency she led, claiming it was intentionally delaying the contract for about a year now

MCOG contracted Bali Steel to conduct the Islandwide Abandoned Vehicle Project.

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