US Department Of Interior Funds CNMI Utility Projects

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Feds provide $2.8 million for stipulated orders

By Alexie Villegas Zotomayor

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Feb. 16, 2015) – The U.S. Department of the Interior issued an authorization to proceed with funding of $2.8 million for stipulated order no. 2 projects.

A joint stipulation by the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. and CNMI government filed in federal court indicated that the Department of the Interior had issued an authorization to proceed (for a combined total of $2.8 million) with the Stipulated Order No. 2 pipeline project and the EEMC support project.

The parties indicated that $151,958 for the EEMC support project and $2,648,082 for the pipeline construction project will be available for the EEMC’s use.

"The CNMI will not reprogram the funds without the mutual agreement of the parties," the stipulation said.

The CNMI was given until Feb. 13 to deposit the $2.8 million into the court’s registry or file with the federal court Interior’s authorization to proceed.

The parties submitted copies of the Feb. 5 and Feb. 13 ATP from Interior signed by Grants Management Specialist Keith W. Aughenbaugh sent to CNMI CIP Administrator Virginia Villagomez and CUC Executive Director Alan W. Fletcher.

The parties told the court that the ATP for $151,958 and the ATP for $2,648,082 satisfied the CNMI’s $2.8 million funding requirement.

The CNMI had earlier requested from Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs the use of fiscal year 2015 funding to supplement the budget requirements of the ongoing contract management and administration of construction projects by the federal court-appointed Engineering and Environmental Company which will manage the projects to comply with Stipulated Order No. 2 requirements.

Federal contractor Gilbane Federal recently signed a letter of engagement to undertake the responsibilities of the EEMC.

The pipeline project calls for the design and replacement of the current 8-inch pipeline running from the Mobil terminal to Power Plant I at Lower Base, Saipan.

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