"Next week, before the nation's highest court, nearly a century's worth of tension between the United States and Guam over the cleanup of a massive waste site on the remote Pacific island will come to a head.
Guam contends that it should not be the sole party on the hook for the $160 million cleanup of the island's now-shuttered Ordot Dump, which the U.S. Navy built in the 1940s to dispose of military waste. The United States argues that Guam has missed its window to ask the federal government to contribute to the cleanup under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act.
The case raises critical questions about the mechanics of U.S. Superfund law, military cleanup, environmental justice and the nation's treatment of Guam, a tiny territory populated by 170,000 people, as well as of U.S. territories more broadly.
"This is immensely important for Guam because of the amount of money involved," said Gregory Garre, who is representing the island. "Guam isn't arguing that the United States should pay 100% of the costs of the cleanup — just its fair share.""