EPA signs off on permit for Harmon waste facility - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

EPA signs off on permit for Harmon waste facility

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 by Jolene Toves

Guam - The Harmon Residential Solid Waste Transfer and Household Hazardous Waste Facility has received its permit and may now open its doors.     

Guam Environmental Protection Agency administrator Eric Palacios has approved the residential solid waste transfer and household hazardous waste facility permit for the Guam Solid Waste Authority. Last week the federal receiver had accused Guam EPA of dragging its feet on approving the draft permit. "The 109 days that was mentioned in the receiver's report includes the mandatory public comment period it includes the prep time for the public ad it includes the compilation time for the agency to gather any comments that may have been submitted it includes the three weeks or so that we gave USEPA to incorporate its comments it includes Saturday it includes Sunday it includes holidays it includes a couple of days that I took off for family reasons," Palacios said.

In a declaration filed with the district court on Thursday, Palacios explained that he had allowed the USEPA to comment on the draft permit. It wasn't until recently that Palacios confirmed that USEPA's comments were incorporated into the draft permit. Palacios says in reality he and his staff had a little over a week to diligently review the very critical and highly technical document. "When you add all that up Guam EPA really only had the permit for 11 days to include approval and when you look at it from that aspect I'd say the team here did a remarkable job considering the magnitude of the project," he said.

Palacios signed off on the permit this past Tuesday. And while District Court of Guam Chief Judge Frances Tydingco Gatewood had ordered that Guam EPA take action on the permit by this Friday, Palacios says, "It was always my intention to kick it out this week." He added, "Whether or not there was a court order that is what Guam EPA intended to do this whole time. I just wanted to make sure that I didn't commit to a particular date because I felt it would be imprudent to do so should something come up you know I get called out he made a commitment he didn't fulfill it so I kept it very open."

Palacios says at this point the Harmon facility can now open when it is ready.

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