By Pacific Island Times News Staff
FSM to blacklist contractors found violating environmental rules
Palikir, Pohnpei— Obtaining permits and licenses from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will now be a mandatory requirement for contractors whose projects involve earthmoving activities in the Federated States of Micronesia.
“For far too long, 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," FSM President David W. Panuelo said in a statement announcing the new regulations governing FSM contracts and procurements.
"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," the president said.
Blacklisted contractors would be disqualified from bidding on government projects.
According to the Office of the FSM President, the new regulations “seek to protect the nation’s natural environment by harmonizing national contracts with conservation and preservation efforts.”
A “notice to proceed” will 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 bidding.
“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," Panuelo said.
"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," he added.
To protect the nation's environment, the president said, it is imperative to "make it financially burdensome for the rules to be broken, and financially attractive for the rules to be followed.”