Guam – The US Navy may finally be held responsible for its creation and use of Ordot Dump, the island’s embattled waste site forced into closure by the US Environmental Protection Agency.
Over the weekend, Judge Ketanji Jackson of the US District Court in Washington DC ruled in favor of Guam’s Office of the Attorney General by shutting down the federal government’s attempt to dismiss the case. Guam’s lawsuit is based on CERCLA, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980.
Local AG Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson told Newstalk K57’s Patti Arroyo she couldn’t be more pleased for the island. She told listeners GovGuam has complied with every order given to them from the District Court of Guam since the federal EPA took them to court for failing to clean up and close the Ordot Dump — a waste site that the Navy started.
USEPA issued its first administrative order directing GovGuam to cease discharging leachate from the dump in 1986. However, the local government failed to fully comply for 22 years, prompting a 2008 mandate for Guam to appoint a federal receiver. Since then, the island has spent over $200 million complying with waste management mandates executed by consultants Gershman, Brickner & Bratton.
The Ordot Dump was ordered closed, the federal receiver was appointed to take over the island’s solid waste management, and the Layon Landfill was built under a court-ordered consent decree — all on GovGuam’s dime.
In its motion the Navy argued that Guam exceeded the statute of limitations to file under CERCLA. Judge Jackson disagreed and will soon be issuing a memorandum opinion, shedding more light on the reasoning for her ruling.
Houston-based Kelley, Drye & Warren is representing the Guam Attorney General’s Office in the suit.
PNC’s Tamar Celes contributed to this report.