A bill requiring that Palau Public Land Authority (PPLA) turn over public lands it holds to the states where those public lands are located passed 3rd reading in Senate once again. Under the bill, PPLA must turn over lands to the state within 90 days, once formal request from the state is submitted.
This is not the first time that this bill has been introduced. During last administration, it passed both Senate and House and was submitted to then President Remengesau. The bill was referred back with amendments and OEK did not act on it and it lapsed. It has been re-introduced and passed 3rd and final reading in the Senate, to be transmitted to the House.
The objective of the bill is said to “increase localized management of public lands” and to “improve the ability of various state governments regulate and monitor the operations of their respective public land authorities”.
Significant changes proposed include; limiting the authority of PPLA to sell, lease or exchange public land and to “use or dedicate land for public purposes” only, allow state government to legislate more authorities to state public lands authorities, remove President’s legal authority to execute leases and land use agreements, and discontinue the Homestead program.
Palau Public Land Authority will be limited only to management of lands “identified in the National Development Master Plan for the national government and those public lands reserved for use by the United States Government under the Compact of Free Association.” (By: L.N. Reklai)