U.S. District Court for the NMI designated judge David O. Carter has ordered the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. to move forward with the completion of an oil storage tank project at CUC’s Power Plant 1 in Lower Base.
Carter said it is imperative that the construction of Tank 102, including the correction of defects to the existing unfinished tank structure and grouting, move forward without further delay.
CUC was given until Thursday, Oct. 31, to submit a proposed statement of work and a request for proposals procurement package to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its review.
If CUC and its bonding company fail to agree on one statement of work for the correction and completion work, the utilities agency shall submit its statement of work to EPA, together with a copy of the statement of work being proposed by the bonding company, he said.
Alternatively, Carter said, the bonding company should submit a written statement that sets forth a listing of items the bonding company rejects in CUC’s statement of work and request for proposals, together with its reasons for the rejection.
If the bonding company does not provide a copy of its proposed statement of work or the written statement to CUC prior to Oct. 31, 2013, EPA shall review the information provided by CUC in its submission.
The judge ordered that EPA’s review of CUC’s statement of work and request for proposals procurement package be completed within 15 days after CUC’s submission.
“CUC shall take steps to publish the RFP within 10 working days after receipt of comments from EPA,” he said.
Carter further ordered CUC to publish the RFP, review and evaluate all proposals received under such RFP publication, and award a contract to a contractor no later than Jan. 6, 2014.
In 2009, the federal court entered stipulated orders regarding, among other things, the integrity of CUC’s oil storage tanks.
The stipulated orders represent an agreement between the CNMI government, CUC, and EPA that sets up the process that will help CUC comply with all requirements of the Clean Air Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act. The stipulated orders provide a roadmap for providing improved water and sewer services in the CNMI.
CUC has stated that its oil storage tanks continue to endanger the lives of people and the environment.