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The Guam Environmental Protection Agency (Guam EPA) and the Department of Public Works (DPW) today released the Preliminary Public Scoping Report for the environmental impact statement (EIS) for the siting of a municipal solid waste landfill facility on Guam. The report summarizes comments received during the initial public scoping comment period, which was open from June 30 to August 3, 2004. The report also contains a Frequently Asked Questions section, which includes responses to the most common questions raised by the public during the scoping period.
The Guam Department of Public Works and Guam Environmental Protection Agency (Guam EPA) are under a Consent Decree to develop a municipal solid waste landfill facility (MSWLF) on Guam by December 2007. Three candidate sites have been identified for the MSWLF in the villages of Asan, Inarajan, and Yona. An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is being prepared to evaluate the potential environmental effects of siting a MSWLF at one of these sites. The EIS, which must be completed by December 7, 2004, will also describe possible mitigation measures for unavoidable impacts that may result from the project. This Public Scoping Report summarizes the public comments received on the project that will be used to define the scope of the EIS report.
The public scoping period was open from June 30 to August 3, 2004. A total of 109 commentors provided comments, including those who commented more than once. Three public scoping meetings were held on July 7, 8 and 12, 2004, to solicit comments from the public. Eighty-five commentors provided oral or written comments at these meetings; 23 commentors submitted their comments through the project Web site, facsimile, or by hand-delivery.
The public comments were arranged into five groups: water protection, on-site environment, land use, transportation, and other issues. The comments were further categorized into 40 siting criteria developed by the project team. Many comments focused on potential impacts to groundwater or surface waters in the event that the landfill liner system fails. Inarajan residents raised particular concerns that the candidate site in Dandan would affect the Ugum watershed -- the potable water source for Guam's southern villages -- and nearby streams used for farming and recreation. Impacts to existing and future land use and potential property devaluation were common concerns among the residents at the three public scoping meetings. The public cited existing and planned tourist resorts, and on-going farming activities as some of the economically productive uses that would be affected by the landfill.
Incineration, either alone or combined with a landfill facility, was the most common waste management alternative proposed by the public. The public asked about the cost comparison between operation of an incinerator and a landfill, and about the possibility of harnessing electricity from the incineration process. Several comments were in strong support of a recycling program. Alternative landfill sites were also suggested, including Harmon Field in Dededo, Tiyan in Barrigada, Fadian in Mangilao, and Mt. Lamlam in Umatac.
In their comments, a number of individuals were highly critical of the site selection process. Most of those who commented on this issue wondered why the public was not included in the selection of the three candidate sites, and why a previously studied site at Guatali was eliminated from consideration. Some residents suggested that the selection process is politicized and hasty.
The public will have additional opportunities for involvement in the EIS process. Public comments will be solicited after the release of a Preliminary Site Report that describes the characteristics of each candidate site with respect to the siting criteria. A public comment period will also be available upon release of the Draft EIS. Public meetings will be held to present the report findings during each of these public comment periods.
Preliminary Public Scoping Report (PDF, 1.7MB), including Frequently Asked Quesions
Landfill Site Selection Fact Sheet (PDF, 140K)
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