Attorney General of Guam (AG) Leevin Camacho is actively seeking eyewitnesses to the U.S. Navy’s dumping of waste or hazardous waste at the Ordot Dump. The Ordot Suit: A Call for Stories project aims to hold the federal government responsible for the closure costs for the Ordot Dump (Dump), which has, among other things, caused the Guam Solid Waste Authority (GSWA) to go bankrupt.
A Supreme Court ruling from May last year has empowered Guam to collect data, evidence, and testimony of the event. Guam has until December to compile all the information.
“We need to gather information from the Department of Defense [DoD],” said Camacho. “We also have the opportunity to collect our own evidence.”
The Organic Act
Before the Organic Act of 1950 caused the US Naval Government of Guam to transfer ownership of the dump to the Government of Guam, the Navy utilized the site to dump garbage, discarded munitions, and chemicals.
Fast forward to 2011–In short, the Dump’s forced closure Guam with the bill for costs of its closure, monitoring, and maintenance. This is despite the fact that witnesses have said the US Navy continued to use the Dump after the Organic Act.
AG argues the Navy should be held responsible for its disposal of hazardous waste and help pay for the costs of the dump’s closure and remaining necessities.
Meanwhile, said Camacho, the Navy has denied contributing anything to the Ordot Dump, sayingg, “We know just anecdotally, that is not true.”
In a K57 interview, Camacho referenced a woman’s letter who recalled how in her youth, she and her younger brother played with munition casings in the Ordot Area.
In another instance, Camacho described truck drivers for the Navy who may have disposed of munitions at the Dump. “The truck drivers were the ones who loaded up the truck,” said Camacho. “They would drive it out and dump it.
“It’s just a story, but it’s a powerful story if we can connect it to the time and the place and what exactly they were dumping.”
The stories and testimonies may not break the case, explained Camacho, but they are powerful tools and essential for the AG’s case.