Guam facing EPA sanction for failure to submit a cleanup plan for sulfur dioxide pollution

With federal highway grants at stake, Guam is facing sanction from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its failure to craft a plan for clearing the asthma-causing sulfur dioxide air pollution in the Cabras-Piti area.

Along with Guam, also facing sanctions are Indiana, Louisiana and Puerto Rico, which all failed to comply with the planning requirements of the Clean Air Act for ambient air quality standards.

"This action triggers certain CAA deadlines for the EPA to impose sanctions if a state or territory does not submit a complete (State Implementation Plan) addressing the outstanding requirements and for the EPA to promulgate a Federal Implementation Plan if the EPA does not approve a state or territory's SIP," EPA stated in the final rule posted on the Federal Register on Nov. 3.

The final rule is effective Dec. 3. From this date, Guam and the three other jurisdictions have 18 months to dodge EPA's "highway sanction" by filing their individual State Implementation Plans.

CAA authorizes EPA to impose "highway sanctions," which prohibit the awarding of certain grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation to delinquent jurisdictions.

According to Guam Department of Public Works' website, DOT's Federal Highway Administration allocates $18.4 million a year to the government of Guam for highway projects.

"The EPA has determined that there is good cause for making this final agency action without prior proposal and opportunity for comment because no significant EPA judgment is involved in making findings of failure to submit SIPs, or elements of SIPs, required by the CAA,"