»Official to attend groundbreaking for Puerto Rico parkland conversion
WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Department of the Interior’s Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas Esther Kia’aina will visit the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands from May 31 to June 1, to meet with CNMI Gov. Eloy Inos and CNMI Department of Labor Secretary Edith DeLeon Guerrero and the CNMI Workforce Committee to discuss workforce development strategies. Kia’aina and CNMI leadership will also discuss topics such as immigration, climate change, military training, and economic development. Kia’aina will also meet with Northern Islands Mayor Jerome K. Aldan and Tinian Mayor Joey San Nicolas. While in the CNMI, the Assistant Secretary will also attend the groundbreaking ceremony for the capital improvement project to convert the former Puerto Rico Dump into public parkland.
“I commend Governor Inos and his team as well as my staff who have worked so hard for so long to get the Puerto Rico Dump project finally off the ground,” said Kia’aina. “One of the largest capital improvement projects funded through the Office of Insular Affairs at over $25 million, this site has taken its toll on the environment, the economy and, most importantly, the health of the community. I myself have known about this landfill since I was working for Congress; the dump was lower than the tangan tangan trees back then. I am honored to join you as we celebrate the closure of this landfill and the opening of a beautiful park for the community to enjoy.”
The ground-breaking at the Puerto Rico site on the northwestern coast of Garapan marks the beginning of the first phase of a multi-million federal grant to stabilize and seal the solid waste landfill in accordance with an agreement between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the CNMI government. Located adjacent to Able Dock and Saipan Harbor and bordered by Tanapag Lagoon, the site was used for the disposal of nonhazardous solid waste between 1950 and 2003. The conversion work will reduce migration of contaminated water into the lagoon, protect the toe and slopes of the dump from erosion, control storm-water, collect and safely treat or vent landfill gas, and provide public parkland. (OIA)