COPPER THIEF HITS POWER POLES ON SAIPAN

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Some 1,050 linear feet snipped

By Ferdie de la Torre SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, July 29, 2011) – About 1,050 linear feet of copper wire was found stolen from eight power poles in Marpi yesterday afternoon.

As a result, the neutral line at four other poles is now sagging but the contractor of the controversial Marpi power poles project refused to touch the line due to a court injunction, Saipan Tribune learned.

A staff of contractor Maeda Pacific Corp., who asked not to be identified, said he received a call yesterday from their subcontractor that copper wires were stolen from some of the poles in Marpi.

After confirming the theft, the staff said he immediately called the police.

The neutral power line-copper wire No. 4-was the one stolen after being cut from power pole No. 1 near the Buddhist Temple to pole No. 8. This caused the neutral line from pole No. 8 to pole No. 11 to sag.

The contractor's employee said their concern is that the other line may also sag, but that they could not touch it because the project is on hold due to a court injunction.

The contractor also did not touch the remaining wire that had been cut by the suspect or suspect; it remains dangling on the pole.

When he passed the area two days ago, the wire had not been stolen yet.

Superior Court associate judge Kenneth L. Govendo on July 5 ordered the injunction that temporarily stopped the installation of the remaining power poles. The injunction will remain until after the May 1, 2012, trial.

The power poles are part of a $2.9-million project to build a Marpi public cemetery. The poles are supposed to supply power to the public cemetery and the CNMI Veterans Cemetery. Only two more power poles need to be installed to complete the project.

The Friends of Marpi sued the CNMI government over the power poles project. The plaintiff cited at least two issues in opposing the project:

Greater transparency and public involvement in a project that impacts an area of tremendous historic and cultural significance, as well as natural beauty.

Thorough consideration of more appropriate and cost effective alternatives for providing power to the public cemetery.

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