Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Governor Never Gave Budget for Dump Closure

Governor never gave budget for dump closure'
Tuesday March 18, 2008
By Therese Hart
Variety News Staff

SPEAKER Judi Won Pat (D-Inarajan) yesterday said the administration never submitted to the Legislature a budget request for the closure of the Ordot dump in the governor's 2005, 2006, and 2007 budgets.

"I don't know what the Governor is talking about… I checked with Senator (Eddie) Calvo and we have it on record that he never submitted a request for the closure of the landfill," Won Pat said.

Won Pat said that the request was only submitted in the governor's 2008 budget and even at that, he tapped into the Department of Education's funding.

Won Pat said she thought the governor would take 10 percent from other agencies to minimize the loss, but instead 100 percent of the funding was taken from the Department of Education.

"Clearly, this governor doesn't care about education," Won Pat said.

Won Pat also said that the governor and not the Legislature determines what the ceiling will be for his budget.

As for the controversy surrounding the Dandan site, Won Pat said that she and her colleagues were concerned about the process in which the Guam Economic Development Authority chose that particular site.

"We support the closure of the Ordot landfill, however, there are still many questions in terms of how Guam EPA went about selecting Dandan. We're still wondering whether that is truly where the new landfill should be," Won Pat said.

* Disappointed *

In a press release, Sen. Rory Respicio (D-Agana Heights) said that he was disappointed but not surprised with Chief Judge Tydingco-Gatewood's decision.

"This is the path from which the federal courts have never deviated since the beginning. The order appointing a receiver is full of assumptions that go against the facts in the issue. I believe the Chief Judge is following a direction that is wrong for Guam and our people, but is right for the federal government because it is the easiest path."

Respicio chided Tydingco-Gatewood's decision and said that the Chief Judge's decision shows a lack of caring about preserving the island's water resources.

"We've already seen reports that desalination plants might be necessary. I'm sure the Feds already have contractors lined up for those projects, just as they already had a contractor lined up to handle the receivership."

"By the judge's decision it is obvious that the federal government doesn't care how much a government-built landfill will cost the people of Guam. Our people are the ones that the federal government continues to shortchange every day... by not fully reimbursing Guam Compact Impact expenses, by not paying Guam the federal share for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), and by making our people wait for more than 60 years for war reparations for pain and suffering in World War II.

"By the judge's decision it is obvious that the federal government doesn't care that the selection of Dandan violated the Consent Decree multiple times. This decision obviously has nothing to do with the Consent Decree at all. The Consent Decree is just an excuse to act unilaterally, to force us to do their bidding, and to bring in pre-selected private interests that will make millions from the federal government, while the people of Guam continue to suffer," the senator said.

Respicio also said that it is his belief that federal receivership will set back territorial-federal relations many years.

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