Dentons US LLC has started work on the review of a draft environmental impact statement for proposed military activities.
The contract was signed last week and was worth $235,000, according to Press Secretary Ivan Blanco.
Blanco said Matthew Adams signed the contract on behalf of Dentons and its partner, Environmental Science Associates, while Gov. Eloy S. Inos signed on behalf of the government.
Representatives of Dentons and ESA will be making their initial trip to the Northern Mariana Islands at the end of June, but have already began work on collaborating with CNMI departments on comments for submission to the Department of Defense.
Following the extension of the comment period, the new deadline for submission of comments on the CJMT draft EIS is Aug. 4, 2015.
A statement on Friday said the administration, “through a multi-step evaluation process and in accordance with CNMI Procurement Regulations under the Expedited Purchase Clause, has signed and completed the Independent Services Contract.”
Dentons is a global law firm based in San Francisco and is widely recognized as the largest law firm in the U.S.
Dentons holds a unique specialty in environmental law meriting awards from the American Bar Association for Distinguished Achievement in Environmental Law and Policy.
The firm’s environmental law practice features more than 80 specialists such as environmental lawyers, policy advisors, and cultural resource specialists.
The Dentons team is led by Nicholas Yost, who previously served as General Counsel of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, where he was the lead draftsman of the National Environmental Policy Act’s implementing regulations.
ESA is a full-service, multidisciplinary environmental, engineering, and planning consulting firm with a staff of more than 350 professionals.
ESA has reviewed more than 5,000 environmental documents for compliance with NEPA, the federal Clean Water Act, the federal Endangered Species Act, and other state and federal environmental quality regulations.
“The CJMT draft EIS is a very intensive document which requires technical skills in not only biological, ecological and economic expertise, but also a fine understanding of the legal aspects of the NEPA law,” said Inos in a statement
According to the request for proposal, the selected firm is expected to conduct a thorough review of the CJMT Draft DEIS, produce fact sheets, and a legible breakdown of the contents for the public, conduct public hearings alongside the administration to disseminate information, and gain important community feedback.
The firm is additionally going to work with the various departments of the CNMI government in the development and final submission of the administration’s comments.
The administration continues to encourage residents to provide their comments and/or concerns on the U.S. military live-fire plans for Tinian and Pagan.
To learn how to submit your comment online visit: http://www.cnmijointmilitarytrainingeis.com/get-involved
Rep. Angel Demapan (R-Saipan), meanwhile, said he applauds the administration “for its swift action in putting out the RFP for this project.
“The draft EIS/OEIS is a very intricate set of documents that needs to be thoroughly scrutinized as the magnitude of the proposals stand to drastically alter the economic landscape of the CNMI,” Demapan said.
However, the lawmaker said he still “strongly believes that the people of the Commonwealth were short-changed by the military’s decision to only grant a 60-day reprieve instead of the 180 days requested by the governor and supported by the Legislature.”