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Friday, April 18, 2014

Bureau administrator appoints DEQ, DCRM directors

Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality administrator Frank M. Rabauliman appointed on Monday David Rosario as director for the Division of Environmental Quality and Fran Castro as director for the Division of Coastal Resources Management, a day after the effective date of the governor’s executive order merging DEQ and CRM Office under one bureau.

Rabauliman, in his Jan. 13 memo appointing Rosario and Castro, said the agency has changed its name to the Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality, “although the CRM and DEQ Divisions remain.”

Rosario takes over Rabauliman’s former post as DEQ director. Prior to the merger, the CRM Office was headed in an interim capacity by Annie Agulto.

“I encourage everyone to work together to ensure that there is no disruption of our day-to-day responsibilities. Please give the directors your full cooperation as we work toward the implementation of this reorganization,” Rabauliman said in his one-page memo to DEQ and CRM staff.

Castro said yesterday she’s excited “about the opportunity” and is aware of the challenges.

“But first priority is to enhance all aspects of CRM, especially in the areas of permitting, enforcement, monitoring, outreach and more. We aim to provide efficiency in our services to the public and continuously share information about our programs,” Castro told Saipan Tribune.

Prior to her appointment as DCRM director, Castro was manager for DEQ’s nonpoint source pollution, marine monitoring and coral reef program for 16 years.

Gov. Eloy S. Inos’ Nov. 12 executive order merging DEQ and CRM Office was put on the spotlight when the House Judiciary and Governmental Operations Committee raised concerns about possible loss of federal funds if the reorganization pushes through, among other things.

The JGO panel recommended rejection of the governor’s EO barely days before the 60-day legislative deadline to either modify or reject the reorganizational plan.

Later, however, the report recommending rejection was referred back to committee, owing to new information that shed light on some of the original concerns, including assurances from federal grantors National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that the CNMI does not risk losing money if DEQ and CRM merge.

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