Since its inception in 1979, the current DPL has taken giant steps in having an active role in the caretaking, management, and disposition of public lands in the CNMI. MPLC was originally a constitutional and autonomous entity. It was followed by the creation of Division of Public Land within the Department of Lands and Natural Resources (under an Executive Order).
Thereafter, a Division of Public Lands was again recreated within DNR, and a new Board of Public Lands together with the DNR Secretary controlled this new Division (PL 10-57). In December 2000, PL 12-33 amended the old PL 10-57 and again placed the office of Public Lands this time under the Executive Branch as an independent agency.
The Marianas Public Lands Authority (MPLA) was created by PL 12-71, which became a Department of our Executive branch after so many changes in our laws. February 22, 2006 was a milestone in the history of the DPL. Public Law 15-2 created the Department of Public Lands. It has been a long and complex, and definitely confusing journey of transition for the entities. PL 15-2 allowed DPL to assume control of the former autonomous agency, the Marianas Public Lands Authority (MPLA) thus allowing a time of reflection and clarification of corporate objectives within the agency.
For more information see Public Lands Acts of 2006 (PL 15-2).