GovGuam Questions U.S. EPA’s Authority Over Its Younex Threat

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Guam – The Guam Attorney General is questioning the Authority of the U.S. EPA to request that GovGuam and the District Court take certain actions  threatened in the U.S. EPA’s reply brief in the ongoing dispute over the Younex Ukudu Workforce Village.

In a brief filed yesterday [Tuesday] the Assistant Attorney General Kathy Focus does not specify what actions GovGuam is questioning U.S. EPA’s authority on.

However, in its brief filed last Saturday, the U.S. Department of Justice threatened an injunction against the Younex Workforce Village and put GovGuam on notice that further action would be taken unless the wastewater and drinking water issues surrounding the project have been resolved.

The U.S. response states: “The United States expressly puts GovGuam and GWA on notice as to further actions the United States may take in the future.”

And “The United States reserves the right to seek to enjoin further construction of the Younex project or to object to sewer connections and drinking water hook-ups to the Younex project if GovGuam and GWA fail to demonstrate both that 1) sufficient capacity exists to transport and treat effluent from the project….2) sufficient water supply and transmission capacity exists.

Read DoJ’s response       

In her response, Focus writes that “while the Government of Guam does not disagree with some of the requests made by the United States … GovGuam questions USEPA’s authority to request that GovGuam and this court take certain action described in the reply brief.

Read GovGuam’s response

Focus asked the court for time to file a memorandum of points and legal authorities in response to the U.S> EPA’s brief.

In particular she wants to address “the extent of U.S. EPA’s authority to direct GovGuam and this Court to monitor and take action regarding the regulation of building codes and land use regulation in general and in connection with the Younex project and any other project described in a building application” that could impact GWA’s ability to supply drinking water or wastewater services.

The U.S. Department of Justice is threatening an injunction against the Younex Workforce Village and raising doubts about a permit issued by Department of Public Works inspector Jesus Ninete for the project.


The injunction threat and the doubts about the permit are contained in DoJ’s reply to the Guam Attorney General’s argument that the July 12th permit issued by Ninete was only a “draft.”

DoJ’s response was filed Saturday in District Court. In it,  U.S. Department of Justice Attorney for Environmental Enforcement, Robert Mullaney writes:

“The United States expressly puts GovGuam and GWA on notice as to further actions the United States may take in the future.”

And “The United States reserves the right to seek to enjoin further construction of the Younex project or to object to sewer connections and drinking water hook-ups to the Younex project if GovGuam and GWA fail to demonstrate both that 1) sufficient capacity exists to transport and treat effluent from the project….2) sufficient water supply and transmission capacity exists.

Read DoJ’s response