Guam AG takes Ordot Dump case to U.S. Supreme Court

Guam is asking the Supreme Court of the United States to reverse a lower court’s decision that would prohibit Guam from pursuing a claim against the Navy to contribute to the cost of cleaning Ordot Dump under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). (PNC file photo)

Guam has filed a Petition for a Writ of Certiorari with the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) asking the court to accept review of its Comprehensive, Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) lawsuit against the federal government.

The suit, which began in 2017, seeks to hold the United States Navy accountable for its share of dumping toxic waste at Ordot Dump. Estimates put cleanup costs at $160 million or more.

“We believe that the District of Columbia’s Circuit Court decision barring Guam from recovering any costs from the United States for the cleanup of the Navy’s own waste is deeply flawed,” Attorney General Leevin Taitano Camacho said. “We look forward to the Supreme Court’s review of the Petition.”

The federal government has 30 days to file its opposition to Guam’s petition, but can also request extensions. Guam will then have 14 days to file a reply. The briefing is expected to be completed later this year and considered by the Supreme Court in early 2021.

In addition to the CERCLA lawsuit, the OAG has been active in pursuing environmental justice claims. Earlier this year, Guam filed suit against 3M and other companies that produce aqueous film-forming foams that are contaminating Guam’s environment and water.

More recently, Guam joined a suit to protect the National Environmental Policy Act, one of the country’s bedrock federal environmental statutes.

“This case is an important piece of our office’s broader efforts to protect our natural
resources,” said Attorney General Camacho.

(OAG News Release)