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U.S. Department of the Interior - Office of Insular Affairs
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CNMI Receives over $12 Million from Office of Insular Affairs for Capital Improvement Projects



(WASHINGTON, D.C., February 28, 2005) The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands will receive a grant in the amount of $12,423,000 from the Department of the Interior's Office of Insular Affairs to provide funding for several water and wastewater capital improvement projects.

"These funds will help the government of the CNMI complete eleven projects already identified as priorities by local water officials," said Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior David B. Cohen. "These water and wastewater projects will enhance water delivery and water quality in the CNMI. We've been working with Governor Babauta on his plan for the funds, and the money is now being made available so that these projects can be completed.. The migration has put a strain on local budgets and these grants should help to alleviate that problem"

Cohen also noted that Resident Representative Pedro "Pete" A. Tenorio also played an important role in bringing the issue of water delivery and water quality to the forefront. "A year ago the CNMI's Resident Representative challenged all federal officials at the Interagency Group on Insular Areas to drink the glass of water in front of them which he said he brought from the CNMI," said Cohen. "No one dared to taste it."

Among the projects funded by this grant are planned improvements to the water distribution system, the addition of pipeline, a water conservation/leak detection project, implementation of a test drilling program, and sewer construction. The grant will be funded through the Office of Insular Affairs' Capital Improvement Program, which is designed to fund infrastructure projects in the territories