Adelup: no new waste-to-energy contract - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Adelup: no new waste-to-energy contract

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Administration officials sought to clarify today that there is no new contract to build a waste-to-energy plant locally.  Instead,  a recent agreement signed by the governor was simply another step in a court-ordered process to resolve a $20 million lawsuit filed by incinerator license-holder Guam Resource Recovery Partners.

GRRP has held the exclusive license to build a waste-to-energy facility in Guam since 1989. But for 26 years, the company's proposed project has been thwarted by persistent public and political opposition, mainly over concerns about costs and environmental impacts. The company has fought in court though to keep its licensing deal alive.  It's most recent move was to file a $20 million breach of contract lawsuit against the Government of Guam and license grantor, the Guam Economic Development Authority.

The parties opted to resolve the matter through mediation, and a settlement was reached in 2013.

Governor's legal counsel Sandra Miller said, "I want to make it clear: no waste-to-energy contract has been signed by Governor Calvo. And that the agreement that was discussed openly and not in executive session but at a public meeting of the GEDA board was the agreement to amend the 2013 mediation MOU in order to conform it to the comments and recommendations that the Guam Legislature themselves made in December 2014."

In sending the issue back to the administration, the legislature had said that it's the Executive Branch's responsibility to enter into contracts. But the administration plans to return the matter back to senators, because there is one key issue only they can resolve. A law sponsored by the late senator Ben Pangelinan, a vocal critic of the GRRP deal, prohibits the use of incineration.

GEDA deputy administrator Mana Taijeron told KUAM News, "Part of that settlement agreement did include stipulations that need to be met in order for a contract to be even entertained. One of those stipulations includes repeal of the law that prohibits waste-to-energy. And so it's very clear that there has not been a repeal of that law, so therefore we are in no position to entertain a contract."

Administration officials declined to say if they support the incinerator project, saying it's still under study. What is for certain is senators can expect to find that question back in their court soon. "The parties will work on a proposed legislation, we'll give it to the legislature, and if they want to run with it, that's their decision, but we've done our part here," Miller stated.

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