Guam AG urges US Supreme Court to hear Ordot Dump case

Guam’s case seeks to hold the US Navy accountable for their share of dumping toxic waste at the Ordot Dump. (PNC file photo)

Guam continued its push before the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) to hold the United States Navy accountable for its share of dumping toxic waste at Ordot Dump.

In a reply brief filed Thursday, the Guam Attorney General’s Office argued that the Supreme Court should accept the case in order to resolve conflicting decisions between the federal courts on when the statute of limitations under environmental laws such as Comprehensive, Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) begin to run.

In opposing the Supreme Court review, the Guam AG said the United States did not deny the importance to the people of Guam of the D.C. Circuit’s decision holding that a Consent Decree under the Clean Water Act triggered the time to file a claim under CERCLA, a separate federal statute.

Guam emphasizes in its brief that the D.C. Circuit’s decision “saddles Guam—alone—with a staggering $160 million bill for the cleanup of a dump built and exploited by the United States for decades,” an amount that “exceeds the combined yearly budget for Guam’s Department of Public Health and Social Services, Police Department, Fire Department, Department of Public Works, Solid Waste Authority, and Environmental Protection Agency.”

The briefs will be circulated to the Justices for discussion at their January 8, 2021 conference with a decision from the Court on whether it will hear the case shortly thereafter.