The Recycling Revolving Fund (RRF) was “raided” during Friday’s budget session with $500,000 transferred to the University of Guam to fund the Guam Green Growth (G3) Initiative.
Senator Sabina Perez introduced an amendment that would have protected the RRF, but it was defeated by a vote of 7-8.
“I am deeply saddened that the RRF is now being raided in direct violation of the law. Without a public hearing, $500,000 is being removed from the RRF and given to UOG without a formal budget submission and without board oversight and accountability,” Perez said.
Every year, the people of Guam pay an annual vehicle registration fee, and those funds go into a special lockbox called the Recycling Revolving Fund. According to Perez, the law is clear on how these funds must be used: Guam EPA administers the fund to assist mayors to remove abandoned vehicles and tires, clean up illegal dump sites, and subsidize recycling efforts on Guam.
“This is the law, and no legislature has ever violated it,” Perez said.
Senator James Moylan, who supported the Perez amendment, said that while no one
contends with the objectives of the G3 Initiative, two questions must be asked:
- Why raiding the RRF, when the island has a serious issue with abandoned vehicles, white goods, and other junk items scattered throughout our villages? and
- Why provide the G3 Initiative these monies, when other than holding conferences and off island travel, a clear expenditure plan was never provided?
“The RRF is funded by island residents in several ways, with the most notable being when one renews their vehicle registration. We pay these fees because we want to make sure abandoned vehicles, old refrigerators, cardboard, and so many other items are removed accordingly. But now we have Senators taking away a good portion of an already underfunded account and giving it away to a program where we do not have a clear plan on how it will be expended. It makes you wonder,” Moylan said.
Senator Telo Taitague, who also supported the Perez amendment, said: “It is absolutely disturbing that 8 senators felt it was okay to fund a new initiative using the limited resources that our people pay into the Recycling Revolving Fund specifically for recycling efforts and waste removal. With our hospitals requiring more doctors and nurses to fight COVID, public health pleading for more resources, and dozens of unemployed EMT-certified Guamanians – why $500,000 is being prioritized for the Guam Green Growth Initiative over recycling efforts and COVID response is beyond comprehension.”
She added: “Moreover, senators have an obligation to follow the very laws that we and our predecessors have put forward. We can’t disregard this important responsibility even if a new program that we seek funding for involves our relatives and friends.”