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NMI, US seek deadline extension for funding CUC projects

THE CNMI and U.S. governments have asked the federal court to extend the deadline for depositing the $5 million funding needed for the Commonwealth Utilities Corp.’s Stipulated Order 2 projects.

CNMI Deputy Attorney General Lilian Ada Tenorio filed a joint stipulation with the U.S. government and CUC to extend the deadline to file a notice of authorization to March 1, 2018.

District Court for the NMI Designated Judge David Carter earlier ordered the CNMI government to deposit $5 million into the court’s registry or file a notice with the court of the U.S. Department of the Interior’s authorization to proceed or ATP for funding SO2 projects by Feb. 1, 2017.

Tenorio said the delay in the ATP is not only due to the fact that the Office of the Insular Affairs of DOI is currently operating on a continuing resolution through Feb. 8, 2018. She said new staff assignments have also occurred within the last two months in the administration of OIA grant funding.

“Notwithstanding the efforts of the CNMI to confirm with OIA, it is clear that an ATP will not be issued by Feb. 1, 2018,” Tenorio said.

To allow additional time for the CNMI to obtain the requisite ATP, the parties stipulate to extend the deadline to March 1, 2018, she added.

The parties may request an additional extension if needed for the grant award process to run its course, she said.

The CNMI will continue to work with OIA, the other parties, and the court-appointed Engineering Environmental Management Company or EEMC to facilitate the grant award process and to explore the option of reimbursing the court registry with grant funds, Tenorio said.

She asked the court to approve the stipulation and to extend the deadline for the CNMI to file its notice of ATP.

The stipulated order 2 projects refer to the smart rigging of the new CUC oil pipeline; waste management of power plants 1 and 2 on Saipan; engineering and design of facility drainage improvements for power plants 1 and 2; soil cleanup for power plant 1; and construction management by EEMC.

The request for the extension of the deadline was jointly filed on Thursday by CUC legal counsel James S. Sirok, and U.S. Department of Justice environmental enforcement section senior attorney Bradley R. Obrien.

In related news, Judge Carter has authorized a $2,273.05 payment from the court registry for Task Order 6 that will be wired or transferred to Gilbane Federal, the EEMC or court-appointed company that undertook the stipulated order projects for CUC.

Carter also ordered that

1) Within 30 business days, the CNMI shall pay Gilbane $2,712.47 pursuant to TO1 for Gilbane Invoice 29000010058.

2) Within 30 business days, the CNMI shall pay Gilbane $119,163.85 pursuant to TO9 for Gilbane Invoice 29000090006.

3) Within 30 business days, the CNMI shall pay Gilbane $28,814.92 pursuant to TO10 for Gilbane Invoice 29000010005.

The total payment required to be made by the CNMI to Gilbane amounts to $150,691.24.

Judge Carter ordered the grant payments on Jan. 24, 2018.

Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/101790-nmi-us-seek-deadline-extension-for-funding-cuc-projects

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