Farmers, grazers are up in arms over fee increase


Rep. Alice S. Igitol (R-Saipan) has taken up with the Department of Public Lands the more than $1,000 increase in farming and grazing permit fees.

In a statement Friday, Igotol’s office said that the representative had received complaints from several constituents about the increased fee as provided under newly promulgated Marianas Public Land regulations.
“The complaints allege that prior to November 2015, the permit fee for grazing and/or farming was $50 per hectare. The amended regulation increased the grazing and farming permit fee to $1,250 per hectare,” the statement said.

That prompted Igitol to meet with Public Land Secretary Marian Teregeyo last Feb. 8, 2017.

At that meeting, Igitol informed Teregeyo about the complaints she has received from subsistence grazers and farmers about the fee hike.

“According to Secretary Teregeyo, the regulation was amended and signed by the attorney general in 2015. [Teregeyo] further explained that in November 2015, the amended regulation was published in the Commonwealth Register at the Attorney General’s Office. The new regulation was approved in January 2016 and became effective on Feb. 8, 2016,” the statemet adds.

Teregeyo reportedly told Igitol that she personally disagrees with the regulation as it treats all public lands as for long-term lease for business and temporary for grazing and farming.

In addition, the new regulation also requires all businesses leasing public land and grazers and farmers with temporary permits to use public land for subsistence living to purchase $5 million worth of insurance.

Teregeyo reportedly submitted an amendment to the regulation, returning the grazing and farming fee to $50 per hectare. According to the statement from Igitol’s office, the attorney general did not sign the amendment.

Teregeyo has assured Igitol that her office will continue to push amending the regulation for grazing and farming.

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