26 Jul 2010

State of emergency extended at Northern Marianas' utility

3:13 pm on 26 July 2010

The Governor of the Northern Marianas, Benigno Fitial, has extended a state of emergency for the troubled government-owned utility company, the Commonwealth Utilities Corporation.

He says it's necessary because of tighter requirements by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the need to lift a moratorium on the utility hiring foreign workers, among other things.

Mr Fitial says the EPA has required the utility to pay a hefty penalty for failing to comply with stipulated orders to improve its services.

The Governor also says in the next two months the contracts of over 18 technical specialists, who are non-U.S. citizens, will need to be renewed.