June 21, 2021- Tamuning, Guam – Attorney General Leevin Taitano Camacho received the Conference of Western Attorneys General (CWAG) Jim Jones Public Service Award for advancing environmental justice, particularly in Guam’s Comprehensive, Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) case which was recently argued before the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). He is the first from Guam to receive the award.
The award honors a CWAG lawyer who demonstrates a commitment to public service; advances multi-state and CWAG goals; and exhibits a sustained commitment of time, talent, and energy to achieve identifiable results of significance to CWAG; and achieves significant results on issues affecting member states.
SCOTUS’ unanimous 9-0 decision in Guam’s favor paved the way for Guam to continue its fight to hold the federal government accountable for its share of dumping toxic waste at Ordot Dump. The case also triggered the ability of other states and territories to apply the same legal theory in their jurisdictions.
Guam’s effort was supported by a bipartisan coalition of 26 attorneys general who expressed a compelling interest in supporting Guam because of their shared interests in encouraging the timely cleanup of contaminated sites within their borders, ensuring that the United States pays its fair share, and upholding their preferred state-law approaches to cleanup of and contribution to environmental contamination.
Attorney General Camacho said, “In true CHamoru spirit, our small island has made big changes. I am humbled by the recognition, but it really belongs with my office and our legal team for all the hard work they have done. I’m proud to stand with them as we fight for environmental justice for our island and people.”
AGA/CWAG Executive Director Karen White presented the award to AG Camacho last week at the Attorney General Alliance annual conference, held in Hawaii this year. CWAG focuses on traditional western issues like public lands, water rights, and tribal issues, while the AG Alliance takes on emerging issues like cannabis regulation, sports betting, and cybercrime. For more information on AGA and CWAG, visit their website.