Court Denies GovGuam’s Motion To Stay Landfill Case

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Court Denies GovGuam’s Motion To Stay Landfill Case Federal receiver ready to award dump closure contract

By Michelle Conerly

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Nov. 1, 2013) – The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has denied the government of Guam's emergency motion for a stay in the proceedings in the Layon landfill condemnation case.

Also, according to appellate court documents filed on Oct. 30, the requests for emergency stay and interim stay while the motion was under consideration were denied.

The appellate court also scheduled the government of Guam to submit a consolidated opening brief and excerpts of record by Feb. 7, 2014, and a consolidated answering brief on March 10, 2014, in regards to its appeal.

Court documents don't state specifically that the receiver can move forward with awarding the bid for the Ordot closure. David Manning, receiver spokesman, wasn't available for comment yesterday.

The governor's office declined to comment yesterday.

GovGuam on Oct. 29 filed an appeal in the appellate court to halt the award of any Ordot dump closure contracts.

Rawlen Mantanona, substitute legal counsel for the government of Guam in the Layon landfill case, argued that GovGuam wanted to wait until it had a chance to participate in the procurement process before awarding any contracts.

This came after Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood Tuesday night denied the government of Guam's motion to stay the Layon landfill case.

The federal receiver's office at the Oct. 25 hearing said any type of delay could prolong the actual closure of the Ordot dump by at least a year, stating is takes two dry seasons to complete the project.

David Manning, spokesman for the federal receiver's office, also mentioned at the hearing that a stay could substantially increase the cost of the dump now that the bid estimates have been announced.

In its response in opposition to the emergency motion for injunction pending appeal, the counsel for the United States of America also noted, as reasons to deny the emergency injunction pending appeal:

Manning said the receiver is ready to award the dump contract to Black Construction Corporation.

If the receiver were to award the contract to Black Construction, the cost to close the dump would total $49.5 million, excluding the cost of a construction management contract and any post-closure costs.

GovGuam and Gershman, Brickner & Bratton Inc. had argued over an estimated cost of $71 million to close Ordot dump.

Each day the case doesn't move forward, the government's debt to landowners in the case grows by about $3,500. As of October, that debt was about $32 million for the property condemned to build the new landfill.

Background

In 2004, the government of Guam and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency agreed to close the Ordot dump after GovGuam was found in violation of the Clean Water Act. The dump was discharging leachate, or water filtered through the trash, into the Lonfit River.

In 2008, after four years of delaying the dump's closure, Tydingco-Gatewood placed Guam's solid waste operations under court-ordered receivership, putting Gershman, Brickner & Bratton in charge of closing the dump and building a solid-waste landfill. The Ordot dump was officially closed on Aug. 31, 2011, and the Layon landfill opened the following day in Layon, Inarajan.

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