The Northern Marianas Government is planning to re-settle Pagan, the territory's northern most island.
It was abandoned in 1981 after the eruption of Mt Pagan.
Since then Pagan has been eyed for various schemes, reportedly including the dumping of waste from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, while the United States military wants it for both the training of special forces and live fire practice.
But the secretary of the CNMI's Department of Public Lands, Marianne Concepcion-Teregeyo, says the government is about to issue agricultural land permits to dozens of people with links to the island - giving them leases that could become full ownership.
She told Don Wiseman the relocation plan is long standing CNMI government policy.