Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) reported yesterday that the Commonwealth’s Historic Preservation Office is receiving $414,877 to fund its work.
Congress appropriates the money each year from fees collected for drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf.
The annual grants go to all U.S. states and territories, as well as 175 tribal historic preservation offices.
“The Commonwealth’s Historic Preservation Office and its staff do important work protecting and preserving historic and archaeological sites in the Marianas—and in educating all of us about the importance of these properties for our cultural heritage,” Sablan said. “For that reason, I always support hefty appropriations here in Congress from the Historic Preservation Fund.”
For fiscal year 2019 Sablan has requested $88.5 million, an increase, be appropriated from the fund. This is in contrast to the Trump administration’s proposal to cut funding sharply. The President has proposed just $32.6 million, a 60-percent cut.
The money does not come from federal taxpayers. Royalties that oil and gas companies pay to the federal government for the right to drill on the Outer Continental Shelf provide the money for the Historic Preservation Fund.
States are required to match the funds they receive a minimum of 40 percent, but the Marianas and most other non-state areas are exempt from the matching requirement.
In this year’s funding U.S. non-state areas each received similar amounts: American Samoa, $399,210; Guam, $413,040; Puerto Rico, $666,772; U.S. Virgin Islands, $419,485; and Northern Mariana Islands, $414,877.
Federal funding for the Marianas is slightly greater than the $402,962 that the CNMI Legislature appropriated for the Historic Preservation Office for fiscal year 2018. Of that total $257,890 was for Saipan, $79,478 for Rota, and $65,594 for Tinian.
In 2016, Congress reauthorized the Historic Preservation Fund with U.S. Public Law 114-289. The program runs through 2023. (PR)