Senators Respond to Poll On Incinerator Deal

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Only five of the 15 senators responded to the questions on their thoughts on the recently signed settlement agreement involving a waste-to-energy contract.

Guam – At least five senators have responded to a poll on whether or not they support the proposal to build a waste-to-energy plant on Guam, or what is commonly known as an incinerator.

 

Specifically, senators were asked whether they support the settlement agreement that was recently signed off on by Governor Eddie Calvo. The poll was conducted by K57’s 4-Hour Phill show host Phill Leon Guerrero.

Only five of the 15 senators responded to leon guerrero’s inquiry so far and out of the five, only one gave a definitive answer–namely Senator Nerissa Underwood.

Underwood said she supports various efforts in waste management, but she says she does not support incineration.

The remaining four senators, Tommy Morrison, Rory Respicio, Judi Won Pat and Dennis Rodriguez Jr., say it is premature to form an opinion at this time without first reviewing the settlement agreement.

Last week it was revealed that the governor had signed off on the settlement agreement back in July. The governor’s signature gives the green light for the legislature to review the settlement agreement and from there, depending on their action, the agreement then heads over to the Attorney General’s Office.

You can read the senators’ answers in full below:

Senator Rory Respicio: The Administration’s proposal to repeal this provision is a result of a court ordered negotiation. Any decision on retaining, or repealing this provision would depend on the legal arguments presented by the Administration, and the Attorney General as to why this may or may not be legally necessary. I am willing to work with the Governor on this issue, but I would first have to see his proposal before agreeing to any changes to the present law.

Senator Nerissa Underwood: I have not seen the agreement but this is my stance relative to incineration and waste to energy…There are a number of different and effective management options for the disposal of non-hazardous waste, including waste prevention, recycling, composting, energy recovery, and treatment & disposal.  I support all of these efforts. Further, I do support policy efforts related to energy recovery from waste as a means to developing sustainable energy practices for Guam.  However, I am not in support of incineration.  

Speaker Judi Won Pat: It is premature to speak one way or another about this issue other than stating the facts.  GEDA and GRRP reportedly went into a Superior Court-ordered mediation in August of 2013.  In March of last year, GEDA wrote to the Legislature stating that they had reached a settlement agreement with GRRP.  I’ve learned that the settlement was confidential but GEDA had reported that the new contract is “subject to the approval of the Legislature as Guam’s policy-making body.”   I have yet to read any documents regarding that settlement or on any plans to move forward.  Thus, it is difficult to speak about or be knowledgeable about an issue of which very few details have been shared. However, I remain steadfast in ensuring that our people’s health and our environment remain a priority. 

Senator Tommy Morrison: At this time, I have not formed an opinion on the issues surrounding the agreement signed a couple of months ago by the governor and GRRP.  As with many others in our community, I learned of this latest development through the media just yesterday. Moving forward, I urge the governor’s office, GEDA, and other pertinent entities – at their earliest convenience – to provide the legislature, and our community, with additional information concerning this very important matter.  Additional information will help to ensure that an honest discussion and responsible decision-making are achieved.

 

Senator Dennis Rodriguez Jr.: My decision of whether to support a repeal of any law will be based on the facts presented. The legislative process of vetting the GRRP waste-to-energy issue began last term under the purview of my committee, which has oversight of the Guam Economic Development Authority (GEDA).  Unfortunately, it was determined at that time the government was not prepared to take a position on whether a waste-to-energy facility was in the best interest of our island. I’ve requested that all relevant government entities to have their professionals review the GRRP proposal and present to the legislature information that could be used to come to an educated decision on this matter.  Our community deserves no less. I personally would like to see this longstanding issue of establishing a waste-to-energy facility resolved one way or the other sooner rather than later.  We should not leave this issue open and left for future generations to resolve.  The people of Guam and most especially our residents who have been vocal throughout the years of their opposition to this proposal deserve leaders to be upfront and transparent. This requires we deal with this now and make a decision to once and for all approve or disapprove this proposal, period.