EPA tells CUC to stop relying on federal funds


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has warned the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. that it cannot continue to rely on the federal government for financial support, according to EPA project coordinator John Tinger.

Tinger disclosed that CUC submitted an interim financial plan that depends on the federal government funding CUC projects. He described the plan as “unacceptable.”

Tinger’s declaration is attached in support of the U.S. government’s February 2017 status report on some CUC projects.

Needless to say, EPA rejected CUC’s financial plan.

In rejecting CUC’s submission, Tinger said, EPA said that CUC is solely responsible for its operations; that CUC must generate sufficient revenues; and that CUC cannot continue to rely on the federal government for funds.

Tinger said EPA has not received CUC’s response.

Stipulated order 1 requires CUC to have an interim financial plan and a final financial plan that will generate enough revenue to cover compliance activities, stipulated orders, and measures necessary to ensure compliance with the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act.

Since the stipulated orders were entered, CUC has been awarded $54 million in EPA funding for CUC’s SO1 drinking water and wastewater systems.

Prior to the entry of the Engineering and Environmental Management Company order, the Department of the Interior awarded $10 million in federal grant funds for CUC’s Stipulated Order 2 projects. Stipulated Order 2 focuses on oil issues such as requiring CUC to repair and replace oil storage and operation structure, manage tank and pipeline facilities, and require spill and emergency response equipment and protocols.

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 ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

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