Public Law

PUBLIC LAW NO. 14-12

HOUSE BILLNO. 14-112,HSl, SS1

8211.  Tree and Vegetation Planting Restriction

(a) No tree or vegetation that has the potential to grow to more than one~half at the heigbt of a power line shall be planted. within twelve(12jfeet of any power line measured laterally from a point on the ground directly under the aerial power line.

(b) No part of a tree or vegetation shall extend within fifteen (15) feet of an aerial power line.

(c) land owners, or where appropriate, lessees or renters shall ensure compliance with the provisions of subsections(a) and (b) of this section with respect to trees and vegetation on their lands, except as provided in this subsection and subsection (d). CUC shall ensure compliance with subsections (a) and (b) of this section with respect to trees and vegetation on public lands, and on ancestral lands. Ancestral lands, as used in this subsection, are lands which are either owned by the person who owned them prior to June 0 1,1944, or have been in the continuous possession of succeeding generations of the same family since June 01, 1944.

(d) CUC shall be responsible for the first removal of non compliant vegetation or portions thereof and the costs associated therewith, surrounding all primary and secondary lines in the Commonwealth within one year from the day this Act takes effect if such trees, vegetation or portions thereof are in existence at the time this Act takes effect; provided CUC shall not be liable to any person or entity who removes any affected tree, vegetation or portion thereof which is responsibility of cue to remove, unless CUC agrees in advance to pay the fee charged for such removal.

(e) CUC is hereby authorized to promulgate such rules and regulations as necessary to fully implement the provisions of this section.

8212. CIVIL PENALTIES

(a) Any person who violates any provision of this chapter shall be subject a civil penalty not less than $5,000 and not to $10,000 for each such violation, except as provided in subsection (b).

(b) Any person found in violation of Section 8211 shall be given a written by cue of the specific violation and the proposed remedy, and shall be given 30 days to cure the violation. A proposed may include, hut not he limited to, requiring the property owner, or where appropriate, lessees or renters, to remove the affected tree or vegetation or parts thereof.

(1) Where the notice requires removal of affected trees, or vegetation or parts thereof, from surrounding secondary electrical lines, and the property owner, or where appropriate,lessees or renters, do not have the ability to safely remove the non compliant tree or vegetation or parts thereof as required by such notice, the property owner, or where appropriate, lessees or renters, shall pay CUC for the cost of such removal by CUC.

(2) Where the notice requires removal of non compliant trees, or vegetation or parts thereof, from surrounding primary electrical lines, the CUC shall, upon notice to the property owner, or where appropriate, lessees or renters, remove the non compliant tree or vegetation, or parts thereof and shall be paid the reasonable costs of removal from the person or persons found in violation of the provisions of Section 8211,

(c) Any person found in violation of the provisions of Section 8211, in addition to any other charges, fees, and costs assessed in accordance with this provision, may be assessed a fine by CUC of :; not more than three hundred dollars ($300.00).

(d) Actions to recover any penalty provided for in this  section shall, where appropriate, be brought by the Attorney General at the request of CUC or any affected person in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

(e) All funds recovered for penalties from violations of this a Chapter shall be paid into a special account within the General Fund

and is hereby continuously appropriated without fiscal year limitation to CUC who shall have expenditure authority over such funds for the sole purpose of ensuring compliance and enforcement of this Chapter.

(f) This Chapter does not affect any civil remedies for personal injury or property (including underground utilities) damage except as otherwise specifically provided for in this Chapter.”

(c) Title 4, Division 8, Chapter 2, Section 8202 of the Commonwealth Code is hereby amended by adding the following two (2) definitions:

“( 1) “Primary lines” means lines that deliver electricity at voltages  over 600 volts.

(2) “Secondary lines” means lines that deliver electricity at  voltages ranging from 120 to 600 volts.”

Section 3. Severability. If any provision of this Act or the application of any such  provision to any person or circumstance should be held invalid by a court of competent  jurisdiction, the remainder of this Act the application of its provisions to persons or circumstances other than those to which it is held invalid shall not be affected thereby.

Section 4. Savings Clause. and any repealer contained herein shall not be construed as affecting any existing right acquired under contract or acquired under statutes repealed or under any rule, regulation or order adopted under the statutes. Repealers contained in this Act shall not affect any proceeding instituted under or pursuant to prior law. The enactment of this Act shall not have the effect of terminating, or in any way modifying,any liability , civil or criminal, which shall be in existence at the date this Act becomes effective.

Section 5. Effective Date. This Act shall take effect upon its approval by the Governor or upon becoming law without such approval.