30 Dec 2011

US Environmental Protection Agency pushes for delay to Majuro dredging plan

11:42 am on 30 December 2011

The United States Environmental Protection Agency has asked for a delay to a plan for shoreline dredging on a long-awaited United States-funded airport project in Majuro.

This comes three weeks after the the Marshall Islands EPA approved the US$15 million construction of a runway safety area at Majuro airport.

The US-funded project has been on hold since May over concerns about reef damage from dredging, and while the original site for the plan was vetoed in favor of a new location.

The US Embassy in Majuro says the US EPA has no authority to hold up the project.

But the US EPA is challenging this and calling for high-level consultation among US agencies "to allow senior-level discussion of additional opportunities to avoid and minimize impacts".

Howeverm the project manager - Pacific International Incorporated's Bobby Muller - says his company is preparing to begin construction.