6 Nov 2013

Panel says CNMI House to decide on 99-year public land leases

4:21 pm on 6 November 2013

A committee in the Northern Marianas has proposed that the full House of Representatives should decide whether to extend the 40-year lease term on public lands to 99.

The recommendation was made by the Natural Resources Committee of the House of Representatives for it to back any constitutional amendment to that effect.

The committee says the legislature has deliberated extensively on the merits of Article 11 of the territory's constitution over the years, adding that the issue remains a controversial and highly divisive one.

The Saipan Chamber of Commerce, which is the largest business group in the CNMI with some 160 members, supports an extended maximum land lease term.

While the maximum lease term for public lands is 40 years, the maximum lease term for private lands is 55 years.