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EPA and CNMI agree on proposed permit and management measures for unexploded ordnance Public meeting at CNMI’s Division of Environmental Quality on December 11

Release Date: 12/03/2007
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi, 808-541-2711, higuchi.dean@epa.gov

(12/03/07) HONOLULU - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Department of Public Safety have finalized an agreement and a proposed permit for managing and treating unexploded munitions in CNMI.

The action is the result of several years of collaboration between EPA and the CNMI government and addresses the hazards created by the millions of pounds of munitions and explosives abandoned in Saipan following World War II.

“Although the CNMI did not create this hazard, this agreement will help the local agencies make the Northern Marianas safer for its residents and for economic development,” said John McCarroll, manager of the EPA Pacific Southwest Region’s Pacific Islands Office.

The CNMI will have authority to quickly and safely store and dispose of this hazardous waste. Currently, the EPA and CNMI use emergency, short-term measures to address the hazards from unexploded ordnance.

As part of the agreement, the EPA is proposing to issue a federal permit for storage and treatment of unexploded ordnance at the Marpi Point open detonation area. The Marpi Point location is about one mile north of the Marpi Landfill. The EPA and the CNMI government will be holding a public meeting December 11 on the proposed permit. The public has 45 days from the date of the public meeting to comment on the draft permit.

“This permit will allow the DPS to quickly and safely dispose of any unexploded ordnance found without waiting for an emergency permit from the EPA,” said Norwood Scott, Technical Advisor of the EPA Pacific Southwest Region’s Pacific Islands Office.

The Public Meeting will be held December 11, 2007, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at the Division of Environmental Quality, Pangelinan Building, Chalan Pale Arnold Road, in Gualo Rai Village.

Inquiries regarding the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act permit should be directed to either Mary Blevins at 415-972-3357, blevins.mary@epa.gov or Norwood Scott at 415-972-3373, scott.norwood@epa.gov. Ms. Blevins and Mr. Scott can both be reached toll-free at 800-321-7349.

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