DLNR chief backs extension of period to review draft EIS


For Department of Land and Natural Resources Secretary Richard Seman, the danger of having to review a draft environmental impact statement on proposed military activities on the CNMI is that of missing “something critical.”

Seman said he fully supports the call for a six-month extension of the draft EIS review because “we do not want to miss anything that is critical.”

From a scientific point of view, Seman said that reading the more-than-1,000-page draft report is just the start.

“What will take time is the research part on what the document is saying,” Seman said.

He noted that from his own initial review, there are a lot of provisions in the draft EIS on endangered species and questions on environmental impacts.

The official said “this is such a big issue” and that residents and officials “must use science” and “not emotions” in reviewing the document.

He likened the need for more research to a courtroom rebuttal, where scientific facts and supporting research should be heard and considered.

The draft EIS has been described as “too technical”

The Inos administration requested for the review extension, followed by lawmakers.

Funds have also been made available, because the EIS review will require experts outside the CNMI.

Another funding is being eyed specifically for Pagan, which is under the jurisdiction of the Northern Islands. A $75,000 funding to study the draft EIS, particularly on Pagan, is being worked on.

Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) earlier said the Department of the Interior has announced a technical assistance grant of $250,000 to the Office of the Governor to hire environmental experts to review the draft EIS.

Sablan said the funds are appropriated by Congress and allows the department to respond to “critical needs in the insular areas for which local funds are not available.”

Joel D. Pinaroc | Reporter
Joel Pinaroc worked for a number of newspapers in the Philippines before joining the editorial team of Saipan Tribune. His published articles include stories on information technology, travel and lifestyle, and motoring, among others. Contact him at joel_pinaroc@saipantribune.com.

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