With increased economic developments and earthmoving projects, the Historic Preservation Office in the Commonwealth has so far processed 66 one-start permits for fiscal year 2017.
Historic preservation officer Mertie Kani noted that HPO review and compliance has reviewed and processed these permit applications from the Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality for the three islands of Saipan, Tinian, and Rota during this reporting period.
“In addition to the one-start permit processing, we’ve had ongoing subsurface testing activities. Our staff recently conducted a project at a highly sensitive historic and archaeological environment in Chalan Kanoa. The project is for the Public School System’s Head Start program’s proposed new generator house and canopy, with parking extension and fencing upgrade at the Chalan Kanoa Head Start site,” Kani said.
She adds that the project is necessary to ensure that this proposed undertaking will not adversely affect any significant historic and/or archaeological subsurface deposits, features or resources.
Since its implementation over a decade ago, BECQ administrator Frank Rabauliman said the one-start permitting process has dramatically improved efficiency.
“BECQ reviews and manages the Inter-Agency One-Start Earthmoving and Erosion Control Permit application for both commercial and non-commercial activities and, by law, must be completed within 21 calendar days. These regulations have helped protect marine and freshwater quality and protection of our environment. Through this process, we’ve been able to streamline and prioritize earthmoving activities and improve public and environmental health,” Rabauliman said.
Gov. Ralph DLG Torres said the one-start permitting process is crucial to compliance and oversight of proposed projects.
“The CNMI is surrounded by water and marine life. Earthmoving activities affect the balance of our freshwater quality and erosion. One-start permitting educates our business community and promotes public awareness of environmental protection. As our economy continues to grow, improving our efficiency and quality of services remains important. At the end of the day, we must ensure that these activities are done in a way that minimizes environmental impacts and that we stay cognizant of preserving these areas for our future generations,” Torres said. (PR)