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2/18/2016

Measure provides economic stimulus from across the board subsidy to get trash off-island

Senator Rory J. Respicio’s Bill No. 241-33 aimed at supporting ongoing recycling efforts on Guam won unanimous passage during Thursday’s session of the Guam Legislature.

Prices paid worldwide for recycled material have dropped sharply recently, removing a major incentive for getting the ever growing piles of recyclable material—particularly cardboard and plastics—off-island.

Last year the Guam Public Auditor called a moratorium on spending from the RRF until the Guam Environmental Protection Agency comes up with rules and regulations governing its use. Respicio said "this legislation will provide the administrative guidance for how this recycling fund will be administered once this bill becomes law, and will sunset as soon as the new Rules and Regulations have been adopted pursuant to law."

GEPA has yet to submit its proposed rules and regulations.

Senator Respicio’s measure, when it becomes law, would put the Guam Recycling Revolving Fund to work, supplementing the payments island recyclers presently receive for the trash from off-island recycling businesses. Established local recycling companies would be paid 30 dollars for every ton of solid waste recycled. This would help recyclers adjust to dropping prices for commodities such as plastic and cardboard and provide incentives and working capital for future expanded recycling operations.

Bill 241-33 was approved after also gaining Senators Tina Muña Barnes, James Espaldon and Tom Ada as co-sponsors earlier in this week’s session.

For more information, please contact Senator Respicio’s office at 472-7679.

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UNSWORN DECLARATION: I hereby declare that the foregoing is true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief, under penalty of perjury of the laws of Guam, this declaration being sworn and made in lieu of an affidavit pursuant to Title 6 Guam Code Annotated §4308, at the place and date identified herein.




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2/18/2016

Senator Rory J. Respicio’s Bill 223-33, passed Thursday afternoon on a unanimous vote, appropriates money from biosecurity inspection fees to fund both personnel and operational needs of the Biosecurity Division of the Guam Department of Agriculture.

“GDOA staff is the frontline troops in keeping Guam free from these unwanted species,” said Senator Respicio, whose committee has legislative oversight of natural resources matters.

“Without consistent hands on inspection and the deep, professional knowledge available to the Guam Department of Agriculture by staff, we stand to lose a very expensive war with invasive species which, year after year, are a threat to our local environment,” said Senator Respicio.

These threats prompted the Legislature to pass Public Law 31-43, sponsored by Senator Chris Duenas. This law established a Biosecurity Division in the Guam Department of Agriculture and also an Invasive Species Inspection Fee. These revenues are kept separate and apart from the General Fund, and can only be used for efforts to protect our island from invasive species.

Under the provisions of Public Law 31-43, these monies are subject to legislative appropriation. Bill No. 223-33 (COR) consequently appropriates FY 2015 and FY 2016 revenues to the Department of Agriculture to fund vacant positions within its Bio-Security Division as well as operational expenses of the program. Bill No. 223-33 also authorizes the department to hire a Program Coordinator IV to aid in the work of the Bio-Security Division, including helping to realize the full amount of revenues from the new fees expected by the department.

It’s anticipated that collections for this fund may eventually amount to as much as $2 million annually and the prompt availability of funds for new staff and operational requirements will keep the problems posed by future unwanted species in check. ​

For more information, please contact Senator Respicio’s office at 472-7679.

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UNSWORN DECLARATION: I hereby declare that the foregoing is true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief, under penalty of perjury of the laws of Guam, this declaration being sworn and made in lieu of an affidavit pursuant to Title 6 Guam Code Annotated §4308, at the place and date identified herein.




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2/3/2016

Testimony favors across the board subsidy to get trash off-island

The Legislature’s Environment Committee chaired by Senator Rory J. Respicio Wednesday [2-3] held a public hearing on his bill to provide an economic stimulus for the local recycling industry. Under Respicio’s Bill No. 241-33, local recycling companies would be paid 30 dollars for every ton of solid waste recycled. Respicio explained, “This would help recyclers to cope with dropping prices for recycled commodities like plastic and cardboard and provide incentives and working capital for expanded recycling operations.”

Senator Respicio went on to explain that the economic stimulus funding would come from the Recycling Revolving Fund. “The Recycling Revolving Fund was established more than a dozen years ago to provide a funding source for recycling programs and projects. Since then, the record has been clear that this funding has not always been used for valid recycling purposes. Last year, the Public Auditor called for a moratorium on expenditures from the fund until GEPA adopts rules and regulations. To date, GEPA has not submitted the required rules and regulations,” said Respicio, further stating, “In the absence of rules and regulations that would provide for proper use of the Recycling Revolving Fund for government recycling program projects, I believe that the best use of these monies would be to support recycling efforts that are being undertaken and carried out, right now, in the community – in the private sector.”

Testifying at the hearing, Bob Perron, who heads up the recycling firm Guahan Waste Control as well as chairing the Guam Environmental Protection Agency Board, said that current prices for recycled material threaten Guam firms who are removing the trash from the island. “[The prices] are really low across the board,” Perron said, particularly for plastic which is made from oil, currently a glut on the market. Perron said that under the proposed law, some firms might make extra money, while others would make less, but all would likely survive the current market while continuing to help clean up the island.

To qualify for the economic stimulus under Respicio’s bill, a private sector recycler must be licensed to do business on Guam and hold a GEPA permit for the storage and disposal of recyclable materials. The most recent statistics from GEPA show that 40,000 tons are recycled annually. Using this data as base, the annual cost of this stimulus would be about $1.2 million or half the annual revenues of the Recycling Revolving Fund. Respicio stated, “With this bill, we will be utilizing the private sector to advance this community’s recycling goals until GEPA’s rules and regulations are put in place.”

For more information, please contact Senator Respicio’s office at 472-7679.

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UNSWORN DECLARATION: I hereby declare that the foregoing is true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief, under penalty of perjury of the laws of Guam, this declaration being sworn and made in lieu of an affidavit pursuant to Title 6 Guam Code Annotated §4308, at the place and date identified herein.




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