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Contact Islands Program

Pacific Southwest, Region 9

Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands


Carl Goldstein (goldstein.carl@epa.gov )
CNMI Program Manager
(415) 972-3767

The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) consists of a volcanic and limestone archipelago of 14 islands extending in a generally north-south direction for 338 nautical miles for a land area of 176 square miles. With approximately 48,000 people, Saipan is the largest island (46 square miles), and is the urban, commercial and government center. Thousands of people also live on the islands of Rota (32 square miles) and Tinian (39 square miles) which are largely rural.

In the past, much of the CNMI's recognition stemmed from its role in World War II. In recent years it has become a tourist destination, especially for its Asian neighbors. Yet, the median household income is 45% below the U.S. average. And growth has strained the ability of the local government to provide adequate infrastructure and environmental protection:

  • Saipan is the only municipality of its size in the United States without 24-hour water delivery.
  • Saipan's water isn't drinkable because of its high salinity.
  • For almost half of Saipans residents, water flows through their pipes only a few hours per day.
  • The island of Saipan is littered with hundreds of thousands of rounds of unexploded ordnance.

U.S. EPA supports the local leadership of the 50 staff of CNMI Division of Environmental Quality, and has worked with DEQ and others within CNMI to address these problems.

A rainbow graces the lush vegetation covering the Marianas
Rota, CNMI
These grasslands and brush shrubs are found on the green island of Saipan
Saipan, CNMI

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