Legislature called to session again on tainted water bill; More senators supporting governor’s bill

Session has already been postponed due to the coronavirus.

Another special session has been called to tackle Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero’s Prutehi I Hanom Act of 2019 as more senators have indicated that they are now in favor of the governor’s bill.

The governor’s bill seeks to protect the waters of Guam by authorizing the acquisition of specialized legal services to assist in legal actions against the manufacture and use of perfluorinated chemicals, a group of more than 4,000 compounds collectively known as PFAS.

The special session had already been postponed twice last Monday as senators voted to have the governor’s bill undergo a public hearing first.

But the governor has insisted that time was of the essence in authorizing the specialized legal services because the “window of opportunity” is even smaller than initially believed, with Aug. 4 the deadline to add parties to existing class lawsuits against PFAS manufacturers.

According to the governor, the Legislature’s lack of urgency on the issue of PFAS last Monday is concerning because other jurisdictions have already begun the process of suing those responsible for the harm caused in their cities and states by PFAS contamination.

The governor is hoping to get more senators to vote on her Prutehi I Hanom Act of 2019.

Sen. Joe S. San Agustin already told the Patti Arroyo show on K-57 that he will change his vote and that he is now in favor of the governor’s bill because he realizes the urgency of the matter.

Senators Clynt Ridgell and Kelly Marsh Taitano are also reportedly changing their vote in favor of the governor’s bill.

Last Monday, the Legislature voted 8 to 6 with one excused absence, in favor of taking up the governor’s bill at a later date.

Those who voted in favor of the governor’s bill were Speaker Tina Muna-Barnes and senators Pedo Terlaje, Wil Castro, James Moylan, Telo Taitague, and Louise Borja Muna.