Senators tackle controversial used oil issue

(PNC photo)

Guam – During the Legislature’s afternoon session on Tuesday, senators tackled Bill 70-35 which creates a task force focused on addressing the disposal of more than 1.5 million gallons of used oil each year.

Senator Telo Taitague, the primary sponsor of the bill, said that Guam has yet to develop a plan to deal with used oil once the Guam Power Authority decommissions its Cabras units.

Senators Sabina Perez, James Moylan, and Clynton Ridgell also co-sponsored the measure as a follow-up to previous discussions regarding the ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel law.

According to Taitague, when she had discussions with representatives of the Guam Environmental Protection Agency, Guam Power Authority, and the Office of the Attorney General, it was made clear that Guam does not have a clear plan to deal with used oil once Cabras Units 1 and 2 are decommissioned.

During the public hearing on the bill, a representative from the private sector, Matt Giger, argued that Guam needs a used oil recycling plant that can refine the used oil and recycle iit back to a consumable product.

In his testimony provided to the legislature, GPA General Manager John Benavente said it is important to address used oil disposal as his agency began burning used oil back in the early 1990s only as a temporary solution.

“Unfortunately, here we are over 25 years later and the temporary solution has become the norm. Because GPA will be retiring its Cabras steam power plants within four years, this solution would no longer be available after the plant’s retirement,” Benavente said.

GEPA Administrator Walter Leon Guerrero testified that GPA is also under an executive order to burn used oil until GPA’s Capital Improvement Project (CIP) for cleaner power generation is complete. With the deadline for the Clean Air Act compliance looming, GPA will not have any other choice but to posture its power generation in favor of cleaner and efficient operations.”

Currently, a directive issued in 1990 requires GPA to accept and burn used oil. However, it isn’t clear how the agency will dispose of used oil as it prepares to construct a new and more efficient power generation plan in Dededo.

Bill 70-35 has been moved to the voting file.