The Office of the Attorney General has received six proposals for legal services related to chemical contamination of Guam’s waters.
The AG’s office is reviewing the proposals. Officials have said they want to hire private counsel to represent Guam in a multidistrict lawsuit against manufacturers of polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly referred to as PFAS.
The solicitation for proposals was posted one day after Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero signed the Protehi I Hanom Act into law, according to a press release from the AG’s office.
The expert legal counsel will be hired on a contingency basis, meaning the law firm would be paid a percentage of whatever amount will be recovered from the manufacturers of the chemicals.
Guam Waterworks Authority General Manager Miguel Bordallo has said that three of the island's 120 drinking water wells were shut down in 2015. While the federal government doesn’t have official standards, it does have “guidelines” on safety levels of perfluorooctane sulfonate, or PFOS, which is a derivative of PFAS.
GWA tested and found PFOS at the three wells. The well in Tiyan is back in production after a treatment system was installed. The other two, which are in Hagåtña, have been disconnected.
P.L. 35-25, the Prutehi I Hanom Act of 2019, authorizes the Office of the Attorney General “to acquire legal services to pursue remedies for damage” to Guam’s water and/or wastewater due to PFAS contamination.” Both monetary and nonmonetary damages are being sought.
The firm that is eventually selected must have “prior or existing representation of a state or territory in environmental litigation” and a “record of past performance of similar scope of work.”