But Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood ordered Guam EPA to expedite the permitting process.
GBB is currently soliciting bids for the construction of landfill operations road and mass grading for Cells 1 and 2.
However, David Manning, GBB representative told the court during yesterdayâ€™s status hearing that in his discussions with the Guam EPA, US EPA officials and the Attorney Generalâ€™s Office, neither parties brought forth any legal barriers or objections not to proceed.
Guam EPA administrator Lorilee Crisostomo told the court that GBBâ€™s intent goes beyond the phased-approach to the permitting process and is more than a basic clearing of the property. She said a building permit for the construction of Cells 1 and 2 is required.
Crisostomo told the court that GBBâ€™s solid waste permit application is being expedited. However, she added, the issue she brought before the court was separate to the application.
Crisostomo said Guam EPA was not against the mass grading earthwork since it is not considered construction. However, she explained, the building of Cells 1 and 2 are considered construction projects that require a building permit.
Crisostomo said Manning was made aware of this condition.
But Manning said the building permit issue was never made known to him until Crisostomo brought up her concern in court yesterday.
Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood, noting the apparent miscommunication, urged all parties to follow the pertinent laws.
Attorney Gerneral Alicia Limtiaco clarified for the court that GBBâ€™s application is not treated any differently from others and with GBBâ€™s application, Guam EPA has not been following its normal process.
Gov. Felix P. Camacho interjected, saying that GBB is not just any other customer. â€œWe are in no position to treat this as normal. This is an unusual situation,â€ Camacho said.
Agreeing with the governor, Tydingco-Gatewood orderedÂ Guam EPA to expedite GBBâ€™s permit applications.
The government has incurred fines over $10 million. The federal judge said that statutorily, the monies must go to the U.S. Treasury and not the local government. She said it is in the governmentâ€™s best interest if the consent decree is satisfied to save the government from having to pay fines for violation of the Clean Water Act.
Tydingco-Gatewood pointed out that the monies could go toward the schools and hospital.
The chief judge ordered Guam EPA and other reviewing agencies to expedite the process and review the permit applications for Cells 1 and 2 as it pertains to earthwork or mass grading in accordance with GEPA and USEPA regulations, even though the design permit for the solid waste management facility permit at Layon has not yet been addressed.