Sunday, January 18, 2009

Petition to Protect Dandan

Please consider signing this petition titled "To Prevent the Construction of a Mounded Landfill on top of Inarajan Watershed at Layon, in Dandan, Municipality of Inarajan." I'm pasting the entire text of the petition below, and a link to its online form can be found here.

I would love to write more about this issue right now, there is so much going on and so much to be said. If you've ever wondered why some of the more conscious people on Guam refer to the Federal Government as "Federales" in a sneering or fearful way, one of the reasons is happening right now, over the landfill issue and the attempted exortion of the Government of Guam to the tune of almost $1 million dollars a week.
Unfortunately I can't spare the time right now as I'm rushing to finish up a book chapter so I can get back to work on my dissertation. (The pictures in this post are all from the tinanom yan halom tano' on either the land around my family's house in Mangilao or our land in Talo'fo'fo. They aren't meant to represent authentically the ecosystem of Dandan.)

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To: Attorney General of the U.S. & Department of Justice
A PETITION:
TO URGENTLY REQUEST THAT THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES AND THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE IMMEDIATELY STOP ANY AND ALL FURTHER ACTION RELATIVE TO THE CONSTRUCTION OF A LANDFILL ABOVE THE INARAJAN WATERSHET AT LAYON, IN DANDAN, MUNICIPALITY OF INARAJAN, UNITED STATES TERRITORY OF GUAM BASED ON THE ENUMERATED STATEMENTS OF FACT APPENDED HEREIN;

AND

TO URGENTLY REQUEST THAT THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES AND THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE IMMEDIATELY INVESTIGATE INAPPROPRIATE ACTIONS TAKEN OR PERMITTED BY THE U.S. DISTRICT COURT, THE U.S. ATTORNEY’S OFFICE IN GUAM, AND THE U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY-REGION NINE, RELATIVE TO FAILURE TO FOLLOW CONSENT DECREE REQUIREMENTS AND INTERFERING WITH AND IMPEDING THE ESTABLISHED STATUATORY PROCESS FOR PRIVATE ENTERPRISE TO DEVELOP A LANDFILL IN GUAM.

By affixing their signature to this petition, each of the undersigned petitioners agrees with and supports the following statements of fact relative to requesting a halt to any action relative to construction of a landfill above the Inarajan Watershed at Layon, in Dandan, Municipality of Inarajan, United States Territory of Guam:

1. ENDANGERMENT OF WATER RESOURCES.
The area in and around the selected landfill site has a number of rivers and tributaries flowing through it, all part of Inarajan Watershed. According to “Assessment of Viability of Ground Water and Surface Water Resources for the Guam Waterworks Authority Water Resources Master Plan” dated December, 2004, reservoirs placed at the Inarajan and Tinaga Rivers could produce a sustainable flow of nearly 8 million gallons of fresh water per day, enough to provide for 23% of Guam’s residents.

Chief Hydrogeologist Martin G. Steinpress of environmental engineers and consultants Brown and Caldwell (B&C) wrote the following to the General Manager of Guam Waterworks Authority.

(a) “Although GWA’s Fena surface water reservoir and Ugum diversion currently supply southern Guam, future needs may require groundwater development. Since groundwater beneath Layon falls within the G-1 Resource Zone category, it must be protected to drinking water quality standards.”

(b) “The SEIS acknowledges that the Inarajan River has been identified as potential site for a surface water dam and/or reservoir. SEIS Figure 3-1 also shows proposed reservoir and/or diversion sites on the Tinago River…both of these proposed sites would be downstream of the proposed landfill site.”

(c) “In spite of the SEIS claim that “no plans are currently in place to develop groundwater or surface water supplies in the Layon Area…GWA considers (the Inarajan and Tinago Rivers) as potentially viable and necessary for the future water supply needs. In fact, the pre-draft Guam Water Budget Report…recommends that consideration be given to investigating the feasibility of diversions at other rivers in addition to the Ugam…”

A landfill located in this area could potentially endanger a valuable source of fresh water for Guam’s future growth and development. Placing the landfill over this precious natural resource would be as foolish as placing the landfill over Guam’s northern aquifer.

2. VIOLATIONS OF EXISTING PUBLIC LAWS. THE CONSENT DECREE REQUIRES THAT ALL LOCAL LAWS BE FOLLOWED.

(a) Public Law 23-95, enacted in 1996, and amended in 2008 by Public Law 29-116 clearly identifies the exact location for the sanitary landfill, Parcel B of Lot No. 439-R1, Guatali, Santa Rita, Guam. This law has not been amended or repealed to change the designated site for the landfill and the Legislature has reaffirmed, in P.L. 29-116, that the Guatali site is the only authorized site for a landfill in Guam. The Consent Decree (CV-02-00022) requires that all local laws be followed.

(b) Guam EPA and Public Works violated the site selection process required by the Consent Decree (CV-02-00022), by selecting only a single final site instead of three (3) final sites as required. The Sabanan Batea and Lomfit sites that were listed with Layon/Dandan by Guam EPA and Public Works were never eligible to be considered as landfill sites.

(c) The 2006 Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP) designating the Layon/Dandan site is invalid. Only the Legislature is authorized to designate Guam’s landfill site. The Consent Decree requires that all local laws be followed.

(d) The 2006 SWMP which requires an Economic Impact Statement (EIS), for all costs to the public of over Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($500,000) did not include an Economic Impact Statement, but did contain a certification by the Guam EPA administrator that it would not cost the general public in excess of $500,000. The estimated cost of the landfill alone is approximately $190 Million.

(e) Guam law requires the Administration to produce an EIS in the year following its submission if one does not accompany the SWMP. No EIS has been produced to date, in violation of local law. The Consent Decree requires that all local laws be followed.

3. IMPROPER ATTEMPTS BY U.S. EPA AND THE U.S. ATTORNEY TO VIOLATE THE INTENT OF THE CONSENT DECREE AND TO BLOCK FREE ENTERPRISE IN GUAM.

(a) An email, dated November 29, 2007, from Pankaj Arora of U.S. EPA – Region 9, Superfund Division in San Francisco, CA, to the Administrator and staff of Guam EPA, who hold the responsibility of reviewing permit applications to build a privately owned landfill, is evidence of U.S. EPA’s determination to block free enterprise. These Federal entities have placed pressure on Guam EPA to keep a private company from starting a legitimate business so that the Federal government can force the Government of Guam to build a landfill in an inappropriate site. The subject line of the email is “Review of Guatali documents,” and the email states in part:
“I would like to re-emphasize one issue that has been on the table for a few weeks now. According to USEPA (U.S. Govt.) Dandan is the selected site for the new landfill. The Dandan site was proposed by GovGuam under the Consent Decree and accepted by the US as part of the Consent Decree. Therefore, there should not be any confusion about the Dandan site being the new landfill site.

“Last week, I was surprised to see that a permit application was submitted to Guam EPA for the Guatali site. The permit application ties the Guatali site to the Consent decree. This is unacceptable to the US. As stated earlier, Dandan is the site for the new landfill that was proposed by GovGuam and accepted by the US. Please ensure that Guam EPA is working under the guidelines and requirements of the Consent Decree.”

(b) Attached to Mr. Arora’s email was an email from Mikel W. Schwab, US Attorney, Civil chief, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Guam & the NMI, U.S. Department of Justice, to instruct Guam EPA. In part it reads as follows:
“Pankaj,
“It has to be understood that there is no more debate about where the site will be. To comply with the Consent Decree the site chosen, Dan Dan, must remain the focus of all efforts.”
“If the Government of Guam wants to pursue a ‘waste to energy’ scheme, they are free to do so. But, that has nothing to do with, and cannot distract from, their obligation under Federal Court Order to open the landfill at Dandan.”
“If anyone is attempting to go back to the debate and search phase about where the landfill should be placed, they are in defiance of the Consent Decree. They are also indulging in the malady that has led us to this problem. A correct and proper decision has been made and it will be enforced by the Federal Court.”
“Dandan is the location of the new landfill that the Government of Guam must build.”

Through these e-mails, and perhaps through other e-mails and by other means, the U.S. EPA and U.S. Attorney have instructed Guam EPA to deprive a private business of its right to pursue a landfill at Guatali, which violates Section 10(b) of the Consent Decree that states:
“…upon the opening of a properly licensed and permitted municipal solid waste
landfill…no further dumping of any kind will be permitted at the Ordot Dump.”
This does NOT state that it must be a Government of Guam municipal solid waste landfill. In fact, nothing in the Consent Decree states that the landfill CANNOT be privately owned.

These actions are also a violation of several Guam public laws, including P.L. 23-95 and P.L. 29-116. The Consent Decree (CV-02-00022) requires that all local laws be followed.

4. PROHIBITIVBELY ENORMOUS COSTS TO THE PEOPLE OF GUAM.
In addition to the extremely expensive landfill that is required to be constructed over an important source of fresh water, a landfill at Layon/Dandan will place an incredible strain on infrastructure designed for rural traffic on a tropical island, not heavy industrial traffic as a landfill will require. Less than 10% of Guam’s population travels on Inarajan’s scenic primary and secondary roadways on a daily basis, and the roads are woefully inadequate to support the increase in volume of traffic and weight of the vehicles that will need to have access to a landfill at Layon/Dandan on a daily basis. Virtually all roads are two lanes, one in each direction. Shoulders are often non-existent, and bridges are unsuitable for a constant flow of heavy trucks and equipment. The massive infrastructure upgrades necessary to replace bridges, install traffic signals, acquire easements to widen and improve roadways and turning lanes and to create new shoulders for highways from Agat south to Inarajan and Layon, and then north to Yona, including the Cross Island Road, in order to accommodate the massive increase in volume of traffic solid waste is transported from all over the island, and from the military bases, to the site, will cost Guam’s people many hundreds of millions of dollars.

5. HARMING SOUTHERN GUAM AS A TOURIST DESTINATION AND ATTRACTION.
Tourism is Guam’s most important industry. Southern Guam is one of our island’s greatest tourist attractions. The south is the most picturesque area of our island and the lifestyle in the south still portrays much of the traditional Chamorro culture, as compared to the very urbanized lifestyle in northern Guam. Much of what makes the south unique and attractive would be lost with the establishment of a landfill that is visited daily by dozens of heavy, foul-smelling garbage trucks on formerly scenic and charming roads and bridges that have been “modernized” into steel, concrete and asphalt monoliths to accommodate the landfill.


Sincerely,

The Undersigned

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