Wagdy Guirguis president of Guam Resource Recovery Partners said he is poised to move ahead on construction plans for a waste-to-energy incinerator.
On Sept. 9 the Guam Supreme Court issued an amended opinion in the case filed by Sen. Vicente C. “Ben” Pangelinan against Gov. Carl T.C. Gutierrez in the incinerator case.
The high court vacated its July 8 2003 ruling that the waste-to-energy contract between the government of Guam and Guam Resource Recovery partners was null and void. The appeal was argued on Feb. 24.
On that most recent appeal the court found that the contract signed by former Gov. Joseph F. Ada on Dec. 30 1994 in the waning days of his administration was valid. The court found two previously enacted pieces of legislation passed during the 23rd and 24th Guam Legislatures to block the government from proceeding with the contract went against Guam’s constitution.
Prior to the decision to vacate the court had declared the contract invalid because it found that a liquidated damages clause in the contract resulted in an unauthorized appropriation of government funds.
Arthur B. Clark partner in the firm Calvo and Clark LLP and attorney for GRRP told the Journal “After reconsideration the court acknowledged that it is possible under Guam law that the liquidated damages clause could be severed and remaining portions of the contract which the high court held did not violate any Guam law could be left intact.” The supreme court did find that a lower trial court would have to decide procedural issues in the case but he said it was a matter of formality.
Clark said the affirmation of the contract by the court was significant as it vindicated the efforts of the Calvo Bordallo Ada and Gutierrez administrations. “This contract will provide Guam with a valid proven scientific long-term solution to its waste problem and will advance the closure of the Ordot dump.”
Guirguis said rumors had surrounded the proposed project. “Many parties have said that GRRP had some sort of a sweetheart deal and two legislatures have tried to stop it. Now the high court has spoken on those matters and it looks like we have a contract and can move forward which is what we have said all along ” he said. “Everybody has fired their bullets. Now its time to take care of the people.”
Guirguis said he is ready to go ahead with building a landfill on a 400 00-square-meter site in Santa Rita at Guatali.
On Aug. 29 2002 the Chamorro Land Trust Commission board of directors unanimously approved a 20-year lease for Guam Resource Recovery. The commission was paid a one-time contract execution fee of $30 000 on Dec. 31 2002 and will receive a monthly rental amount of $25 000 or 1% of the $2.5 million fair market value.
Construction of the landfill and the waste-to-energy plant will provide up to 300 jobs for the 18- to 24-month construction phase Guirguis said with an estimated value of $70 million.
To finance the venture he said he is planning to use $150 million in private activity bonds which give low interest rates to selected types of projects like waste-to-energy recycling.
“We will do the landfill the waste-to-energy and the material handling facility needed to sort the municipal waste so the government can use it to establish and enhance recycling. We are offering to GovGuam $15 million to $18 million to close Ordot ” Guirguis said. “I just don’t want to be directly involved in the closing; as who knows what is in that mountain at Ordot.”
Guirguis said he is ready to start the project as soon as possible which will increase the island’s electricity capacity by providing energy through waste incineration thereby significantly reducing the amount of waste deposited in any future dump and produce needed jobs for the economy.
He has fought for more than two decades to bring incineration to Guam Guirguis said in what he called a viable solution to an ever-growing trash problem. “I have always maintained through all the lawsuits and all the battles that Guam is best off with a waste-to-energy program.”
Guirguis said despite the length of time the project had been in abeyance he would not cede. “I have been fought at every turn and I am not going to roll over and play dead.” MBJ