SUBJECT: RENEWAL OF DECLARATION OF MAJOR DISASTER AND STA TE OF SIGNIFICANT EMERGENCY ARISING FROM THE BURNING OF THE SUPER TYPHOON WASTE AND DEBRIS SITE ON THE ISLAND OF TINIAN
WHEREAS, on or about June 19, 2022, a grass fire started on the island of Tinian. This fire spread and grew in intensity until it reached a location where waste and debris from Super Typhoon Yutu was being sorted and stored for disposal. Much of the waste and debris stored at the site included “white good” waste, e-waste, tires, batteries and other debris that contained toxic chemicals dangerous or otherwise unhealthy for humans.
WHEREAS, upon reaching the Super Typhoon waste and debris storage site, much of the waste and debris was consumed by fire.
WHEREAS, the burning of the waste and debris has potentially released toxic chemicals into the ground where it may seep into Tinian’s aquifer if it is not cleaned up and disposed of in a timely manner. The aquifer is the sole source of Tinian’s drinking water and contamination of the aquifer would threaten the public health and welfare of the people of Tinian. This threat cannot be understated. Immediate action is necessary to protect the health and safety of the people of Tinian.
WHEREAS, such threat to the people of Tinian and their health necessitates an organized response by a public, private, and government entities to protect life, public health and safety.
WHEREAS, the Office of the Governor has consulted with the CNMI Homeland Security & Emergency Management Office and other agencies, and believes a renewal of the declaration of major disaster and a state of significant emergency is warranted.
WHEREAS, authorizing the Secretary of Finance to be able to access, reprogram or transfer funds from accounts of Executive Branch departments and agencies, including autonomous or independent entities, in order to fund the containment, mitigation, and remediation of the threat to the health and welfare of the people of Tinian is a reasonably necessary response in order to ensure that the government is able to meet the threat.
NOW THEREFORE, I, RALPH DLG. TORRES, pursuant to the authority vested in me as Governor of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands by Article III,§ IO of the Commonwealth Constitution, the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Act of 2013, 1 CMC § 20144, do hereby declare a Major Disaster and State of Significant Emergency for the island of Tinian due to the threat posed by toxic chemicals to the people of Tinian caused by the burning of the Super Typhoon Yutu waste and debris site:
Additionally, I hereby invoke my authority under Article III, § IO of the Commonwealth Constitution and the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Act of 2013, I CMC § 20144, to take all necessary measures to address the threat facing the people of the island of Tinian.
Further, under the authority of this Declaration and with the goal of mitigating and ameliorating the above described threat, I immediately direct the following:
I. The Declaration of Major Disaster and State of Significant Emergency embodied in Executive Order 2022-09, as amended, is hereby renewed and shall thus continue for an additional thirty (30) days from the effective date.
This renewal of Executive Order 2022-09, as amended, is effective retroactive to July 23, 2022 and shall remain in effect for thirty (30) days from the date of this Executive Order. All memoranda, directives, waivers of regulations, and other measures taken in accordance with Executive Order 2022-09, as amended, shall remain in effect for thirty (30) days from the date of this Executive Order.
This Executive Order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the CNMI, its departments, agencies, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
SIGNED AND PROMULGATED ON THIS 27th day of July, 2022
RALPH DLG. TORRES