By Rhealyn C. Pojas
President Tommy Remengesau, Jr. had finally signed into law the bills that imposes a 10-year moratorium on harvesting, taking, selling, purchasing, or killing of hawksbill turtles and the amendments to the Palau Energy Act (PEA) which gives it full regulatory authority over production, purchase or sale of energy.
Remengesau signed the two bills into law after his State of the Republic Address on Tuesday, April 17, in Ngerelmud.
Under the newly signed law, the energy production, purchase and sale under Palau Public Utilities Corporation (PPUC) will now be regulated by PEA.
PPUC will require PEA approval before entering into “major business negotiations” involving energy production, purchase or sale.
Current changes to that law now gives PEA approval powers across all energy related matters.
The law was enacted to promote energy security through diversification of the supply of affordable electrical energy including renewable energy.
Meanwhile, the other newly signed law will impose a ten-year moratorium on the “harvesting, taking, selling, purchasing, or killing of hawksbill turtles”.
The president acknowledged that hawksbill turtles are already endangered species and that Palau must take action to save them as it is significant in the country’s history, culture, and ecology.
It also prohibits the trade, consumption, import, or export of the hawksbill turtle except for the existing use of the traditional “toluk” or women’s money already in circulation.”
The law, however, gives two-year “sell-off” period for businesses who already have hawksbill turtle products in their inventory.
The two-year “sell-off” period is given so that local businesses that have already invested significant amount of money on these products that were once deemed legal are also protected. During the two-year sell off, customers buying these items are also protected.
But the law also emphasized that they will be prohibited to purchase new items of these products for their inventories with the effectivity of the law.