More trash talk over pending lawsuit with feds over Ordot Dump - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

More trash talk over pending lawsuit with feds over Ordot Dump

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by Mindy Aguon

Guam - There is growing support for the idea of holding the federal government accountable for the Ordot Dump closure costs.  The U.S. Navy was previously identified as a potential responsible party for environmental contamination at Ordot. 

"I think it's important that if there's any party that is responsible for this in the past that we should look at that, we shouldn't stop looking because this needs to be addressed," explained Acting Speaker Tina Muna Barnes. She says it has cost the government and island residents millions of dollars to close the Ordot Dump and open a new landfill. It is for that reason that she supports efforts to sue those responsible for the pollution of the Ordot Dump and the Lonfit Jessy GogueRiver.

She continued, "I believe, in my heart, frankly this should have been done many may years ago and I believe that holding the responsible parties liable for this action and this measure going forward is in the right direction and this bill should be given fair consideration and this suit moving forward should be given fair consideration."

The announcement of plans to sue other parties during Governor Eddie Calvo's State of the Island Address came as a surprise to Ordot-Chalan Pago mayor. He said, "And I'm hoping that if it does in fact move forward and there are some rewards of financial gain that we can gather from this lawsuit that somebody will discuss with the mayor of Ordot-Chalan Pago, which is me. What can we do with these money to identify some of the needs and expectations of the Ordot community because I think that right now is being ignored."

The mayor says residents living near the dump have endured decades of fires, stench, environmental hazards and more yet plans to make improvements to the area as it relates to the dump closure seem to be put on the back burner. He added, "We're hoping that if money is gotten from the federal government because of the Ordot Dump that at least plans are discussed with our district on how some of these monies can be used to re-implement some of the projects that we believe have been scaled down or scaled back."

Gogue is referring to projects like the repairs to Dero Road and improvements to the sewer line that is supposed to move the leachate from Ordot to Route 4.  The receiver has said some of those projects are not part of the consent decree and there isn't enough funding for them, noting, "Here we go again. We get short changed on money that was supposed to be used specifically for the Ordot Dump closure and the areas that were impacted by the Ordot Dump.

"We have all of these meds and wants and we're not addressing the needs of the community that was impacted by this issue and the reason we're getting the money to begin with. And there's a moral flaw to that."

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