Palau Public Utilities Corporation’s fuel cargoline connecting IPSECO powerplant to fuel cargo ships poses a huge environmental hazard to the people of Aimeliik, stated Aimeliik State Governor Browny Simer in a letter to PPUC Chairman Reagan Belechel.

In a letter, Simer calls for immediate action to resolve the issue before the environmental damage occurs, affecting the lives and livelihood of people in the area near IPSECO power plant.

“The pipes are old and rusted and pose a great risk of leaks which will cause hazard to the people and the destruction of the surrounding environment. The urgency of this matter is of great priority due to the significant impact a fuel leak will cause to the people living closest to the area of the power plant and its surrounding shoreline,” states the letter from Governor Simer.

The cargoline pipe, a 10” metal pipe, was last replaced in 2014 and has since been patched with tapes where leaks occur.

PPUC CEO Frank Kyota said that the Board has been made aware of the situation and is looking to bid out the project.

The replacement is expected to cost around $1.8 million, but when asked if PPUC has funds to pay for this, PPUC CEO said they would need to look for other means to pay as their funds are tied up in the escrow account for the solar project.

“Funding for PPUC is tight because we are required to put away in escrow $3 million, and we are still building that up while trying to fix other problems. So far, we’ve put away around $2 million, but we are still short of $1 million.”

Asked what other possible solutions could be looked at, PPUC CEO said they’ve to rely on partnerships to accomplish this as PPUC can’t do this by itself.

“We have to create partnerships and find solutions because this is a real concern. If the pipe burst, we not only have to deal with the impact to the people of Aimeliik but we will also be fined by EQPB every day until we resolve the problem,” explained CEO Kyota of the possible solutions to the issue.

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