WASHINGTON, D.C.—Delegate Madeleine Z. Bordallo raised yesterday the issue of Compact Impact during a hearing of the Committee on Natural Resources’ Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans, and Insular Affairs. A study by the Government Accountability Office noted that a challenge in justifying increases in Compact Impact for the affected jurisdictions is that the Department of the Interior has not provided the affected jurisdictions with specific guidance on how to measure the true costs of Compact-Impact. The Congresswoman urged the Department of the Interior to develop this metric and questioned what challenges the Department is facing in determining the metric.
Bordallo also highlighted the contributions FAS migrants have made to our community but noted the financial hardships of providing social services to many of these migrants. She reiterated the need for the FAS governments to inform and educate potential FAS migrants about the difficulties of relocation and the need to have a stable job and living situation before they arrive in Guam.
Witnesses included Charles Paul, Ambassador of the Republic of the Marshall Islands; Asterio Takesy, Ambassador of the Federated States of Micronesia; Nikolao Pula, director of the Office of Insular Affairs at the U.S. Department of the Interior; and David Gootnick, director of International Affairs and Trade at the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
“The costs incurred by Guam and the other affected jurisdictions for providing social services to Compact migrants continues to far exceed Compact Impact assistance provided by the federal government,” said Bordallo. “The GAO has recognized the need for OIA to develop a metric for the affected jurisdictions to accurately measure the true costs of Compact Impact. While I continue to believe that the Compacts are important to our nation’s interests, our local governments cannot afford to continue shouldering these costs. I hope that OIA will develop this metric so we can continue to address ways to mitigate the costs incurred by our local governments.” (Office of the Delegate)