Article XI
 
Land and the Environment

     Section 1.  A person has the right to a healthful, clean, and stable environment. While providing for the orderly development and use of natural resources, the State Government shall by law protect the State's environment, ecology, and natural resources from impairment in the public interest.

     Section 2.  There may be no nuclear, chemical, gas or biological weapons, or radioactive material hazardous to public health or safety, within the State.  No hazardous waste or other hazardous substance may be disposed of within the State except as expressly authorized by State law.

     Section 3.  The use of real property shall in the public interest be regulated by law to assure public health, community well-being, the orderly and economical use of land, preservation of places of cultural or historic value, and island beauty.

     Section 4.  The waters, land, and other natural resources within the marine space of the State are public property, the use of which the State Government shall regulate by law in the public interest, subject to the right of the owner of land abutting the marine space to fill in and construct on or over the marine space; provided, the right may be limited by other provisions of this article and any use of the waters, land and other natural resources within the marine space of the municipality by the State Government is subject to prior consultation between the State Government and the municipality where the marine space is situated.  Consultation procedures shall be provided by statute.
(Amended by 1995 Con. Con.)

     Section 5.  The State Government may acquire interests in private land for a public purpose without the consent of the interested parties.  The acquisition may occur upon payment of fair compensation and the State Government's showing that the land and the interest are highly suited to their intended use, that it has made a good faith effort to gain the consent of the interested parties, and that it has made every reasonable effort to avoid substantial hardship to the interested parties in consideration of their personal circumstances.  Procedures for the acquisition shall be prescribed by law and shall include the payment by the State Government to the interested parties of the attorney costs and reasonable attorney's fees incurred in connection with the acquisition proceedings.
(Amended by 1995 Con. Con.)

Case annotations:  Plaintiff's due process rights were not violated where the government did not use condemnation procedures specified in 67 TTC 451, but followed land registration procedures to obtain title and treated the plaintiff fairly and in the same way it treated other landowners.  Palik v. Kosrae, 5 FSM Intrm. 147, 152-54 (Kos. S. Ct. Tr. 1991).

     Section 6.  Rivers and streams designated by law are public property, the use of which the State Government shall regulate by law in the public interest.

     Section 7.  Only a person who is a citizen of the Federated States of Micronesia and Kosraean by descent, including by adoption, or a corporation which is wholly owned by such persons, may acquire title to land in the State.  Acquisition of title by persons whose status as Kosraeans by descent is based solely on adoption shall be within limits set by law.  Acquisition or utilization of interests in real property may be restricted or regulated by law.
(Amended by 1995 Con. Con.)

Case annotations:  There is a substantial state interest in assuring that land disputes are decided fairly because of the fundamental role that land plays in Micronesia. Heirs of Mongkeya v. Heirs of Mackwelung, 3 FSM Intrm. 92, 98 (Kos. S. Ct. Tr. 1987).

A claim that decision-makers in a land adjudication were biased raises serious statutory and constitutional issues and is entitled to careful consideration.  Heirs of Mongkeya v. Heirs of Mackwelung, 3 FSM Intrm. 92, 99 (Kos. S. Ct. Tr. 1987).

When the land commission concludes that a traditional gift of land, a "kewosr," has been made, but is unable to determine who made the gift, and when, and does not explain any details about the customary gift sufficient to explain how it has determined that a kewosr was made, the opinion does not reflect proper resolution of the legal issues or reasonable assessment of the evidence and therefore must be set aside.  Heirs of Mongkeya v. Heirs of Mackwelung, 3 FSM Intrm. 395, 402 (Kos. S. Ct. Tr. 1988).

Kosrae State Land Commission's determination of ownership of certain lands called Limes, in Lelu, parcel No. 050-K-00, made on July 21, 1985, was sound and fair. Heirs of Likiaksa v. Heirs of Lonno, 3 FSM Intrm. 465, 468 (Kos. S. Ct. Tr. 1988).

Kosrae State Land Commission properly relied on the decision of the Trust Territory High Court in Civil Action No. 47 (1953) as establishing that a person's name on the Japanese Survey of Kosrae was not conclusive evidence of ownership in 1932 of the land indicated.Heirs of Likiaksa v. Heirs of Lonno, 3 FSM Intrm. 465, 468 (Kos. S. Ct. Tr. 1988).

Kosrae State Land Commission was not required as a matter of law to accept as true the Japanese Survey's designation of Fred Likiaksa as owner, in 1932, of certain lands called Limes, in Lelu, parcel No. 050-K-00.  Heirs of Likiaksa v. Heirs of Lonno, 3 FSM Intrm. 465, 468 (Kos. S. Ct. Tr. 1988).

Kosrae State Land Commission properly relied on the decision of the Trust Territory High Court in Civil Action No. 47 (1953) as establishing that no rights given to plaintiff's family could have extended beyond the death of Nena Kuang in 1970. Heirs of Likiaksa v. Heirs of Lonno, 3 FSM Intrm. 465, 468 (Kos. S. Ct. Tr. 1988).

Under Kosrae State Statute KC 11.614, which says appeals will be heard "on the record" unless "good cause" exists for a trial of the matter, the court does not have statutory guidance as to the standard to be used in reviewing the Land Commission's decision and therefore, in reviewing the commission's procedure and decision, normally should merely consider whether the commission:  a) has exceeded its constitutional or statutory authority, b) has conducted a fair proceeding, c) has properly resolved any legal issues, and d) has reasonably assessed the evidence presented. Heirs of Mongkeya v. Heirs of Mackwelung, 3 FSM Intrm. 395, 398 (Kos. S. Ct. Tr. 1988).

In an action brought to enforce an agreement among three parties to "meet and divide up" land which is the subject of an ownership dispute, the court will enforce the agreement and, where there is no evidence to establish that any party is entitled to a larger share than the others, the court will presume that they intended to divide the land equally.  Tauleng v. Palik, 3 FSM Intrm. 434, 436 (Kos. S. Ct. Tr. 1988).

A party claiming ownership in land for which there is a determination of ownership showing another as owner, with the appeal period expired, has, at a minimum, the burden of showing facts to establish that the determination of ownership is incorrect.  Benjamin v. Kosrae, 3 FSM Intrm. 508, 510 (Kos. S. Ct. Tr. 1988).

Plaintiff's possessory interest in land is sufficient to maintain standing to bring action for damages wrought when a road was built across the land. Benjamin v. Kosrae, 3 FSM Intrm. 508, 511 (Kos. S. Ct. Tr. 1988).

Because farming of short term crops, such as sugar cane, on someone else's land is not uncommon in Kosrae, the fruits of such farming are considered the personal property of the person planting them. Kosrae v. Tolenoa, 4 FSM Intrm. 201, 204 (Kos. S. Ct. Tr. 1990).

     Section 8.  No certificate of title shall be issued to the State Government for land consisting of the road and adjacent areas except where the State has actual title.  A certificate of title previously issued to the State for such land is voidable upon application by the landowner holding title; provided that any prior use agreement between the State Government and the private landowner shall be reinstated according to its terms until modified.
(Added by 1995 Con. Con.)

     Section 9.  The State Government shall transfer to the original owners, their heirs or assigns, all public land above the Japanese line. The procedures for this transfer shall be as prescribed by law.
(Added by 1995 Con. Con.)
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