$1M request to buy CUC incinerator granted

U.S. District Court for the NMI designated Judge David O. Carter granted yesterday the request of the U.S. government and the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. to approve a task order that would use of up to $1 million in funds relating to the purchase of an incinerator that would be installed at CUC Power Plants 1 and 2 located in Lower Base.

Carter issued the order after the U.S. government and CUC requested the court during the proceedings last Monday to approve Task Order 15 relating to the purchase of the incinerator.

In 2017, CUC reported that it ships Rota waste oil to power plants in Lower Base for incineration as the Guam Power Authority no longer accepts waste oil. Rota produces about 5,000 gallons of waste oil per year. Saipan has two waste oil incinerators at Power Plants 1 and 2.

According to U.S. Department of Justice Environmental Enforcement Section senior attorney Bradley R. O’Brien, Task Order 15 would authorize the use of up to $1 million in court registry funds for the incinerator purchase and shipping costs.

In light of Task Order 15 being used for the incinerator purchase, the U.S. government and CUC requested the court to delete the incinerator purchase as a line item in Task Order 13.

Carter said upon consideration of the court, the parties’ request is granted and Task Order 15 is approved.

Carter said the line item in Task Order 13 relating to the incinerator purchase is deleted and the funds will be re-allocated as determined by the court.

O’Brien said prior to proceeding with the purchase of an incinerator, the parties have been awaiting CNMI Bureau of Environmental Quality issuance of a permit authorizing the construction and operation of the unit.

O’Brien said that last Jan. 31, the Engineering and Environmental Management Company reported that although the permit evaluation is ongoing, BECQ indicated that it has not identified objections to the proposed equipment selection.

The U.S. government recommended finalizing the BECQ permit status prior to the conclusion of the status conference before Carter.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a veteran journalist who has covered all news beats in the CNMI. Born in Lilo-an, Cebu City in the Philippines, De la Torre graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is a recipient of many commendations and awards, including the CNMI Judiciary’s prestigious Justice Award for his over 10 years of reporting on the judiciary’s proceedings and decisions. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@saipantribune.com

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