Guam Judge Refuses To Rule On Validity Of Trash Incinerator Ban

Waste-to-energy firm claims right to develop facility it received license for prior to legal restrictions

By Jasmine Stole

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Jan 2, 2017) – A Superior Court of Guam judge this month rejected a request by Guam Resource Recovery Partners for a judgment on the validity of Guam’s waste-to-energy banning law.

Guam Resource Recovery Partners, the company seeking to build a $200 million waste-to-energy facility, filed the motion in July, asking for a judgment on the law banning incinerators as it applies to GRRP’s amended license agreement.

The amended license agreement from 1990 set the terms under which GRRP would build and operate a waste-to-energy facility, according to court documents.  In 2000, Public Law 25-175 was enacted, banning waste-to-energy facilities in Guam.

While GRRP has argued its amended license with the government of Guam is valid, defendants government of Guam and Guam Economic Development Authority has argued that it is not.

In his Dec. 12 decision, Judge Alberto Lamorena III states before he can decide on whether the incinerator banning law applies to the 1990 amended license agreement, he must first find or assume that amended license is a valid and enforceable contract.

The language in the 1990 amended license suggests that it “may have merely been an agreement to agree thereby imposing no legally binding obligations on either party,” Lamorena stated.

Lamorena denied GRRP’s motion for a judgement on the validity of P.L. 25-175 and stated a judgement was not appropriate at this time.

Lamorena also reserved the right to revisit the issue of whether or not the 1990 amended license violates the Contracts Clause in the Organic Act.

Lamorena’s decision is the latest episode in a long history of legal battles related to GRRP’s waste-to-energy plans. The case before Lamorena was filed in 2011 by GRRP. GRRP sued the government for $20 million in damages, claiming a breach of contract.

GRRP contends they received a license for an incinerator before incinerators were banned by law in 2000.

In July last year a Memorandum of Understanding was amended and signed by GEDA and GRRP. In the amended MOU, it states that GRRP and the government agree to negotiate terms of a new agreement for an incinerator if a bill is drafted for the legislature confirming the 1990 amended license does not apply to P.L. 25-175 or if a court determines the law does not apply to GRRP's amended license.

Pacific Daily News
Copyright © 2016 Guam Pacific Daily News. All Rights Reserved

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment