President Panuelo Issues New Regulations to Protect the Environment; Any Construction or Procurement Contractor Found Violating or Breaching Environmental Protection Agency Permits & Clearances to be Blacklisted

PALIKIR, Pohnpei—His Excellency David W. Panuelo, President of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), has issued new regulations in accordance with Section 418 of Title 55 of the FSM Code. The regulations seek to protect the FSM’s natural environment by harmonizing national contracts with conservation and preservation efforts. The practical effect is that, for the purpose of any construction or procurement contracts, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) permits and licenses will always be required if the contract involves earthmoving activities.

A “Notice to Proceed” shall not be issued for any construction or procurement contract falling under these regulations if the contractor does not have the appropriate EPA permit or clearance. All bid documents, invitation to bid, and solicitation of interest shall state this new requirement. Any contractor with a prior record of violating and/or breaching EPA rules and regulations shall be disqualified from joining a bidding.

“For far too long,” President Panuelo said in a statement, “Critics of our Nation’s environmental protection and conservation efforts have rightfully pointed out that dredging and other earthmoving activities sometimes occur in violation of the contractors’ EPA permits and clearances, presuming there ever was one in the first place. What these new regulations do is mandate contractors to have the appropriate EPA permit or clearance before conducting an earthmoving activity under a National Government contract—and then, in the event the contractor violates that permit or clearance, they will be blacklisted or banned from receiving contracts from the FSM National Government altogether.”

“To make the private sector work for the public good requires the appropriate incentive. Long ago, ship captains from England would get paid in advance before hauling prisoners to Australia; the inevitable result was that many prisoners died before arriving in Sydney. In order to preserve life, the Government changed the rules so that ship captains would only get paid based on the number of healthy prisoners who arrived in Australia. It’s the same idea for our natural environment here in the FSM. If we want to protect our environment, we must make it financially burdensome for the rules to be broken, and financially attractive for the rules to be followed.”