9 Apr 2014

US Govt called on to sign deal on CNMI submerged lands

8:23 am on 9 April 2014

The United States Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is being urged to speed up the co-management agreement governing federal and CNMI submerged lands in the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument.

The CNMI's congressional delegate, Gregorio Kilili Sablan is making the request three months after President Barack Obama signed a proclamation temporarily withholding the transfer to the CNMI of submerged lands around five islands that are either part of a national marine monument or under lease to the U.S. military.

Mr Sablan says after signing over the oil, gas, and mineral rights around the CNMI to the Commonwealth government last month, the next step for the Interior is to complete a co-management agreement.

Mr Obama exempted from the transfer to the CNMI control of submerged lands around Farallon de Pajaros, Maug, and Asuncion, which are part of the National Monument, as well as Tinian and Farallon de Medinilla that are under lease to the U.S. military.