by Mindy Aguon
Guam - District Court Chief Judge Frances Tydingco Gatewood will not be getting involved in the Government of Guam's land use planning or building permit processes as requested by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In an order issued late Wednesday afternoon, the judge found "It is neither appropriate nor timely for this court to become integrally involved in the day to day activities of Guam's governmental agencies."
Tydingco-Gatewood expressed confidence in the USEPA's capabilities to ensure the Guam Waterworks Authority's compliance with the Clean Water Act. GovGuam earlier this week in a brief filed with the federal court accused the USEPA of attempting to micromanage local regulatory processes. The USEPA has asked that the court monitor all building permit applications on Guam involving drinking water or wastewater issues.
The request came as the feds expressed significant concerns over the Department of Public Works issuing a building permit for the Younex Ukudu Workforce Housing project. The court wants the parties to work collaboratively and said she will still monitor GWA's compliance with the stipulated order. A quarterly status hearing was rescheduled until November 17 when the court will address the status of projects as they relate to the stipulated order as well as any violations noted by the USEPA.
DPW Director Andy Leon Guerrero and Guam EPA Director Elisabeth Cruz were ordered to appear at that hearing.