New move reduces financial burden of US territories
Grant-matching requirement to be waived for A. Samoa, CNMI, Guam, U.S. Virgin Islands
The Biden-Harris administration announced yesterday new efforts to reduce the financial burden on the U.S. territories of American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam and U.S. Virgin Islands. The Office of Management and Budget has directed all federal agencies and departments to waive local cost share requirements under $200,000 for grants for the four U.S. territories. For local matching funds $200,000 and greater, agencies and departments may waive the matching requirement for these four territories.
President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act are providing once-in-a-generation climate and infrastructure resources to the U.S. territories, including investments in ecosystem restoration and climate resilience. Yesterday’s announcement will help ensure U.S. territories have the investments they need to develop a long-term plan to facilitate conservation, resiliency and economic growth.
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced at the Interagency Group on Insular Areas annual conference for territorial governors, members of Congress and other federal government officials yesterday that the Interior Department will extend the waiver of all match requirements, regardless of amount.
“Accelerated by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act, the Interior Department is making coordinated investments in the U.S. territories to conserve public lands and ecosystems, bolster climate resilience, and safeguard the environment for future generations,” said Haaland. “In implementing this new policy, territorial governments will have greater flexibility to access these funds, further equipping them to upgrade critical infrastructure and invest in climate resilience.”
Haaland and Julie Chávez Rodriguez, senior adviser to the President and director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, serve as the IGIA co-chairs and delivered remarks at yesterday’s event, which was moderated by Carmen G. Cantor, assistant secretary for Insular and International Affairs. Mitch Landrieu, senior adviser to the President and White House infrastructure coordinator, and Winnie Stachelberg, Interior Department senior adviser and infrastructure coordinator, also participated.
“President Biden is committed to expanding access to federal programs and breaking barriers for disadvantaged and underrepresented communities,” said Rodriguez. “This policy will help level the playing field and enable access to new resources for the territories.”
At yesterday’s IGIA meeting, representatives from the departments of the Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Energy, Transportation, and the Environmental Protection Agency shared updates related to ongoing implementation of these historic laws. They highlighted how these resources are helping assist the territories in upgrading critical infrastructure and bolstering resilience against climate change and extreme weather events.
Established by Executive Order 13537, the IGIA convenes the leadership of the U.S. territories to advance key issues such as climate change, economic development, energy and infrastructure, health, education, public safety, justice and other issues as prioritized. (Saipan Tribune/PR)