DOI approves additional $5M for CUC projects


Assistant Secretary for U.S. Department of the Interior Insular Affairs Esther Kia’aina has informed Gov. Ralph DLG Torres that the CNMI government’s request for additional $5 million in funding for the Commonwealth Utilities Corp.’s projects has been approved.

In a letter to Torres last Friday, Kia’aina said they appreciate the CNMI’s submission of the Capital Improvement Projects Spending Plan for fiscal year 2016, totaling $9,606,000.

Kia’aina said included in the CIP Plan is additional funding for CUC Engineering and Environmental Management Company projects, including the oil pipeline, tank cleanout, inspection and repair project, and construction management.

Assistant attorney general Teresita J. Sablan, counsel for the CNMI government, informed the U.S. District Court for the NMI on Monday about DOI’s approval of the $5 million funding for CUC projects.

Sablan said pursuant to the court’s final order, the government must deposit $5 million into the court’s registry or file a notice with the court of DOI’s authorization to proceed for funding Stipulated Order 2 Projects (SO2) by Feb. 1, 2016.

Sablan said the government has not received the authorization to proceed.

However, the lawyer said, on Friday DOI issued a grant award in the amount of $5 million for SO2 Projects.

She said the corresponding authorizations to proceed are forthcoming, and the funds will be available for SO2 Projects upon the issuance of those ATPs.

The CNMI, CUC, and the U.S. government filed yesterday a stipulation to extend the deadline to file notice of ATP to Feb. 29, 2016.

The parties, through their respective counsels, said despite their diligent efforts, CNMI failed to obtain the corresponding ATP by Monday, Feb. 1.

The parties said they will continue to work cooperatively to meet the extended deadline.

Last Nov. 13, the government submitted an amended FiscalYear 2016 Commonwealth Improvement Projects spending plan to DOI’s Office of Insular Affairs (OIA) to include the $5 million funding requirement for Stipulated Order 2 (SO2) projects.

Sablan said the $5 million FY 2016 grant funds will be used for cleanup, inspection and repair of Tank 103 ($730,614), CUC pipeline construction ($3,887,161), and construction management by Engineering Environmental Management Company (382,225).

The SO2 projects are decommissioning of the existing CUC pipeline and smart pigging of the new CUC pipeline ($720,729); waste management for Power Plants 1 and 2 on Saipan and Rota power plant ($2,389,626); engineering and design of facility drainage improvements for Power Plants 1 and 2 ($896,773); soil cleanup for Power Plant 1 ($607,324), and SO2 construction management by EEMC ($365,118).

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

Related Posts

Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.