The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded $2.1M to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands’ Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality (BECQ) to strengthen its capacity to protect human health and the environment. EPA has also awarded $10.1M to the Commonwealth Utilities Corporation (CUC) for wastewater and drinking water infrastructure improvements.
“The CNMI government has been a great partner in environmental protection,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker.“We are pleased to support both BECQ and CUC programs that are committed to achieving a better environment for all the residents of CNMI.”
BECQ uses EPA funding to support inspections, emergency responses, radon assessments, coral reef protection, monitoring of beaches and water quality, drinking water improvements, cleanups of contaminated lands and polluted streams, and support for safe use of pesticides.
“The Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality through its Division of Environmental Quality (DEQ) have developed a strong partnership with the US EPA in the development and implementation of environmental programs that aims to protect public health and the environment of the CNMI,” said CNMI BECQ Administrator Eli Cabrera. “The continued funding support and technical assistance from the US EPA has been pivotal in the enhancement of DEQ’s environmental programs and the capacity building trainings that have broaden the capability DEQ’s personnel in all areas of environmental protection.”
EPA’s award of Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water Infrastructure Funds to CUC will support projects to increase 24-hour drinking water service to customers, enhance drinking water quality, prevent water pollution, and replace water supply lines. The funds also support improvements to island-wide sewer pump stations, wastewater treatment plants, and sewer system lines.
“The Commonwealth Utilities Corporation and the CNMI in general are very grateful for the continued support by the EPA in providing needed funding and technical expertise to assist CUC in developing the necessary water and wastewater infrastructure required for our growing communities,” said CUC Executive Director Gary Camacho.
The EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region (Region 9) administers and enforces federal environmental laws in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, the Pacific Islands, and 148 tribal nations -- home to more than 50 million people. For more information on Region 9’s Pacific Islands Program visit https://www.epa.gov/pi
SOURCE: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)