GRRP's permit not a done deal just yet - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

GRRP's permit not a done deal just yet

by Mindy Aguon

Guam - "Why build another landfill in Santa Rita? We're gonna be called the capital of landfills for Guam," pleaded southern resident Ron Quinata. "I beg of you to disapprove of this project." He and other Santa Rita residents filled the village's community center on Tuesday night as they've done in previous years vehemently opposing Guam Resource Recovery Partners' efforts to build a landfill and incinerator on Chamorro Land Trust Commission property in Atantano.

Many, like former mayor Joseph Wesley and Bill Sarmiento, had questions about the project. "I don't understand why nine years and you didn't complete your permit. Why it took you nine years?," said the former, with Sarmiento adding, "My question is this already a done deal? Is it really a done deal and this here is just a matter of formality?"

"Land trust is up in ten years - what is our assurance that if this building of the landfill is in affect that this company will be around for the 30 years supposedly to clean up? That means they'll leave the crap for us to clean up," another neighbor asserted.

Ken Leon Guerrero says if the permit is approved, he would be looking at the landfill outside his kitchen window, saying, "When you look at the fact that they don't have clear title, when you look at the fact it's government land, when you look at the fact that it's a short-term lease, when you look at the fact that they're asking us to pay to build it so they basically can get a percentage of the administration or management of it, this thing smells and they haven't even built it yet."

Residents also questioned why the landfill would be built since there are only ten years left on GRRP's lease with the Chamorro Land Trust Commission. It's a lease that Quinata questioned why was given in the first place. "There's no reason for Government of Guam [sic] to provide property to private companies to I'm sure they're gonna make money somehow someway. Although there's a fee for GovGuam; we gotta think of our people first. People comes first before you provide any excess property."

But environmental engineer Ron Grow was one of a few who testified in favor of the landfill and waste-to-energy facility, saying a review of the plans show that it won't be a dump like Ordot. He stated, "I can see from the plans that it's very carefully designed to be environmentally proper to be a landfill." Grow continued, "I understand NIMB - Not In My Backyard. Anywhere you go in the world everyone is going to say I don't want it in my backyard but at some point it's gotta go somewhere and where does it work best geologically? Is the land proper for it?  That's what I look at as an environmental engineer, separate the fact from emotion and look at all the facts of the project."

The Guam EPA is accepting comments until this Friday. Agency spokesperson Tammy Jo Anderson Taft meanwhile says there are no assurances that the agency will issue the permit to GRRP.  With the comments that were provided during Tuesday night's hearing, the agency will respond in writing to the concerns and then review their options which would be to approve the permit, make changes and modify it, or deny it. 

Taft added that if the public wants questions answered they can meet with the agency's technical crew.

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