Senate passes bill that authorizes DPL to issue encroachment permits


The Senate passed last Tuesday a bill that authorizes the Department of Public Lands to issue licenses and use permits and charge fees for the use of the public lands located within the 150 feet of the high water mark.

Eight senators present voted “yes” to pass House Bill 22-31, HS1. The bill now goes to Gov. Ralph DLG Torres for action.

The House of Representatives passed the bill last Sept. 1. Rep. Joseph Lee Pan T. Guerrero (R-Saipan) is the author of the legislation.

High water mark refers to the highest water stand reached by the lake or river, or the highest level reached by the sea at high tide.

House Committee on Natural Resources chair Rep. Sheila J. Babauta (D-Saipan) said this bill proposes to authorize DPL to issue encroachment permits. Babauta said the changes that are proposed in this legislation will allow DPL to charge for encroachment of existing structures only.

The bill proposed that DPL may not transfer an interest, and may prohibit the erection of any permanent structure, in public lands located within 150 feet of the high water mark of a sandy beach except that:

• DPL may authorize the construction of facilities for public purposes.

• DPL may grant a non-exclusive license or permit provided the use does not interfere with the public’s access to the property.

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

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