Gov. Ralph DLG Torres’ meeting last week with Saipan Cares for Animals director Beth Pliscou was “extremely productive, and many of SCA’s concerns were clarified or resolved,” according to a news release today from the Office of the Governor.
The news release stated that Torres will continue to support SCA, but made clear that he has not and will not overstep the Commonwealth Zoning Board’s authority in SCA’s application processes.
The news release expressed Torres’ continued support for SCA, but also clarified details about Torres’ Jan. 25 meeting with Pliscou and some agency officials.
The release first noted that “neither the Commonwealth Zoning Board nor a representative from the Zoning Office” was present at the Jan. 25 meeting. However, the office said that Torres met with Zoning’s chairman and Zoning’s administrator on Jan. 24 to get more information on SCA’s situation.
Instead, present at Torres’ Jan. 25 meeting with Pliscou were Department of Lands and Natural Resources Secretary Anthony T. Benavente and Division of Fish and Wildlife director Manuel M. Pangelinan.
Saipan Tribune mistakenly reported last week that “an official from the Commonwealth Zoning Board” was at the Jan. 25 meeting with Torres, Pliscou, and DFW’s Pangelinan.
Pliscou told Saipan Tribune last week that, according to DFW, one concern the agency had with SCA’s future As Lito property was the presence of endangered birds on the land. The governor’s office confirmed these details.
“Governor Torres met with Beth Pliscou to offer assistance in addressing issues concerning SCA’s permitting application for its new property in As Lito to the Division of Fish and Wildlife and the mitigation requirements relating to the presence of endangered bird species on the property,” states the press release.
The Office of the Governor’ said that Torres’ Jan. 25 meeting with Pliscou, Benavente, and Pangelinan “was extremely productive, and many of SCA’s concerns were clarified or resolved. Torres, however, has not and will not overstep Zoning’s authority for SCA’s application processes, and has full faith and confidence in the Zoning Board’s ability to carry out its mandates.”
“The Zoning Board is doing the best they can. I understand and share the community’s sentiments regarding our need to provide access to professional animal care in the Commonwealth, however, we must ensure that all laws and regulations are followed in the process,” said Torres.
Torres said that Pliscou also understands that Zoning is doing the best it can and that SCA and Pliscou are grateful to the Zoning Board for approving previous extension requests at SCA’s current As Gonno facility.
Torres added that he too is excited for SCA’s move to its future As Lito property, where the organization “will have more space to conduct their important services and do so within the parameters of all applicable laws and regulations.”
“We continue to offer SCA our full support and thank them for their continued service to our animal population”, said Torres.
The official statement from the Office of the Governor can be found at https://governor.gov.mp/news/press-releases/governor-joins-in-scas-excitement-and-clarifies-meetings/?fbclid=IwAR3qO3gOkcU-HaH4BvLf0ngkoxchkxHEvdwX_7jzEiujk1i0dn6eptzjk1s.