Guam – In response to concerns raised by the U.S. EPA, DPW Director Andy Leon Guerrero says that Younex’s limited permit for the Ukudu Workforce Village will be revoked Thursday. But Younex Senior Vice President Dave Tydingco says he has been assured that with revisions, it will be re-issued. Both men denied U.S. EPA’s suggestions that the permit had been issued improperly or that Younex was in violation of the existing permit.
The DPW Director said a stop work order will be issued to Younex Thursday after the U.S. EPA raised strong objections to the ongoing work at the Ukudu Workforce Village which the feds fear will overwhelm the already over-taxed Northern Wastwater Treatment Plant.
The commotion over the limited permit issued to Younex erupted after U.S. EPA sent inspectors to the site who rang the alram over the ongoing work at the village which will eventually house as many as 15-thousand H-2 workers who will provide the labor for the military buildup.
A declaration filed in District Court Wednesday by U.S. EPA Environmental Engineer Fatima J. Ty reiterates U.S. EPA’s concerns that the construction permit DPW issued to Younex didn’t take into consideration the need for “necessary infrastructure for waste-water and drinking water connections to the project.”
“It did not appear that DPW consulted with GWA at all in the issuance of the permit,” states Ty.
In addition, Ty states “”a building permit fee was apparently waived.”
Ty’s declaration was filed in support of a request for another hearing before the Court which has been requested by U.S. Department of Justice Attorney Robert Mullaney. Mullaney heads DoJ’s Environmental Enforcement Division.
In his request for a hearing, Mullaney points out that in its last Status report to the Court on GWA’s progress on correcting its Clean Water Act Violations, U.S. EPA “emphasized that the increased wastewater flows from the project to the Northern District Wastewater Treatment Plant would adversely impact effluent quality from the WWTP, which is already in ongoing violation of its permit limits. We stressed that the additional water demand from the Younex project could result in water shortages and low water pressure in surrounding Guam communities.”
“We remain concerned” writes Mullaney, “that the permitting process for the Younex project appeared to curtail proper review by both GWA and Guam EPA.”
But DPW Director Leon Guerrero rejected any suggestion of wrong doing, saying that no permit fees had been waived. He said the permit issued was a “shell permit” that does not authorize power, water or sewer hook ups. He said he is fully aware of EPA water and sewer concerns, but the project has not advanced to the point where such permits are necessary.
Younex Senior Vice President David Tydingco said Younex is fully aware of the U.S. EPA’s concerns, and recognizes that both water and sewer infrastructure will have to be upgraded.
“There simply is a misunderstanding because the filing [Mullaney’s District Court filing] is a concern about the Northern Wastewater Treatment Plant and the permit we have has nothing to do with hooking up to that or being able to tap any water resources.”
W.B. Flores President, William Flores, who is overseeing the design and permitting process on the Younex project, says the permit they have was issued only for the limited purpose of allowing Younex to anchor the housing units to concrete to prevent them from being blown around and damaged in the event of a typhoon.
And Tydingco emphasised “We are not going to turn on the spigot or use any of the sewage facilities until we get the appropriate permits, because frankly, they won’t allow us to hook up if we aren’t permitted and we are really sympathetic and sensitive to that issue.”
Meanwhile, Younex attorney Ignacio Aguigui sent a letter to DPW advising Leon Guerrero that “a revocation of the subject permit is unwarranted, and that any and all efforts toward revocation must immediately cease. However in the event that DPW continues to proceed in the direction of revoking the July 12 permit, Guam law prohibits you, as the Director of DPW, from revoking the July 12th permit without first giving Younex formal written notice, in the form specified by law, an opportunity to object to such contemplated action, and an opportunity to request an administrative hearing.