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Guam waste board urges action regarding river

February 20, 2014

HAGATNA, Guam (AP) — The Guam Solid Waste Authority board of directors urged the governor and island lawmakers this week to take action against parties responsible for polluting the Lonfit River.

The board members passed a resolution Thursday asking Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo and senators to do everything they can to hold parties, including the federal government, accountable.

“We have a responsibility to the people of the island,” interim board chairman Andrew Gayle said. “This is something we can’t afford to not try.”

The neighboring Ordot landfill is blamed for polluting the river. That prompted legal action by the federal Environmental Protection Agency to force the closure of the landfill, which led to a federal receiver taking over it in 2008.

The landfill started as a World War II disposal site used by the Japanese, then by the U.S. Navy until ownership was transferred to the government of Guam in 1950.

During the years that the Navy controlled the landfill, hazardous waste including industrial and commercial chemicals could have been dumped there, according to the board’s resolution.

“Recent sampling data suggests chemicals causing contamination in the landfill are likely attributed (at least in part) to the Navy’s past waste disposal activities,” the resolution states.

To fulfill the decree to close the landfill and open the Layon Landfill, the Guam government borrowed $202 million, Pacific Daily News (http://is.gd/xOdz1m) reported.

Repayment of the bond will cost Guam residents $360 million, according to the board. That does not include millions of dollars owed to the former landowners of the new landfill.

Calvo has said he wants to sue the federal government to force it to pay its share of the Ordot landfill closure.

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