Guam – The legislature held a hearing to find out the latest with the Guam Resource Recovery partners contract for a trash incinerator. GEDA recently delivered the contract to the legislature for their review. GRRP hopes that lawmakers will approve the contract and pass a law repealing the the current statute that outlaws incinerators on Guam. GRRP did their best to sell the incinerator as the best choice for Guam but senators still had many questions.
The Guam Resource Recovery partners are touting their plans for a waste to energy trash incinerator as a cheaper alternative to the Layon landfill. “The commercial fee for here on Guam in terms of the tipping fee without Layon let’s take that completely out of the picture it would be about $60 dollars per ton with Layon if we add $102 million into this debt service for GRRP to procure on the bond market it will go up to about $130 dollars a ton still far less than what is being charged just for the landfill alone at Layon,” said GRRP’s David Sablan. Sablan says without the Layon landfill residential fees would be $12 dollars a month and with the landfill it’s residential tipping fees are estimated at $25 dollars a month. In addition to this Sablan says more savings will be had with the power they produce. For every 300 tons of trash they believe they can produce 12 megawatts of power.
“20 years from then when the capital expenditure is fully recovered at the rate base then the monthly residential fee without Layon would be zero we bring the trash for free we burn it for free but we have the revenue from the sale of energy. With Layon it would be only 4 dollars a month residential fee. For the commercial haulers it would be $23 dollars with Layon, without Layon we’d be paying commercial haulers to bring the trash $58 dollars per ton,” said Sablan.
Vice-Speaker B.J. Cruz brought up some concerns about the fact that their contract contains in it specs from 1996 for an older model incinerator and doesn’t contain specs that include some of the technological advancements that have been made since then. “The reason that we don’t have an updated design of the facility is frankly we’ve paid millions of dollars for a design of the facility for the 1996 contract,” said GRRP attorney Anita Arriola adding, “we did not want to go through that expense again if this contract is not going to get approved.”
The legislature is being asked to approve the contract and pass a law repealing a prior law that makes incinerators illegal on Guam. However, some senators are concerned that this could be a waste of time if the Governor doesn’t support the incinerator and they say it’s unclear what the Governor’s position is on the matter. “Reasons why it’s important for the Governor to determine what his position is on this issue is because it is a policy decision from the executive branch and the legislative branch but more importantly the current laws I believe is that the Governor has the unilateral authority to enter into this negotiation and sign this contract irrespective of what the legislature’s position may be,” said Senator Rory Respicio.
Two members of the public spoke in outright opposition to the proposed incinerator. “This is a really good agreement I compare it to the agreement when the Dutch bought Manhattan for $24 dollars from the indians,” said Ken Leon Guerrero adding, “This agreement this draft agreement appears to be a form of extortion by threat of legal action. It is not in the best interest of tax payers and the people of Guam. To begin with, this draft agreement doesn’t appear to conform to Guam procurement law as it is a sole source contract with no justification for a sole source award.” Gisela Guile testified in opposition to the incinerator saying, “Any incinerator on this island is not good for the people of Guam it has nothing to do with finances it has to do with the environment and the health of the people of Guam.”
The legislature has yet to approve of the contract and no one has introduced a bill yet to repeal the law that makes incinerators illegal. There is no word yet on whether or not someone will introduce such a measure.