Washington D.C. (June 5, 2008) - According to Nikolao Pula, the Director of the Office Insular Affairs, he is accompanying Secretary Kempthorne's Deputy Chief of Staff, Doug Domenech, on his first trip to Hawaii, Guam and the CNMI in his new additional capacity as Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Insular Affairs. Mr. Pula said that Doug leads a delegation of DOI officials during this multipurpose trip, which basically demonstrates Interior Secretary Kempthorne's continued support and focus on a variety of island issues. In addition, the team will accompany the recently appointed Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, Ms. Janet W. Creighton, on her first visit to Guam.
The DOI team consists of Doug Domenech, Secretary Kempthorne's Deputy Chief of Staff and Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Insular Affairs, Nikolao Pula, Director of the Office of Insular Affairs, Tim Petty, Interior Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water and Science, Tom Murray, Senior Research Scientist, USGS, Larry Broun, Interior Emergency Coordinator.
In Hawaii, the team met with Governor Linda Lingle and delivered a $10.5 million grant. This grant is for the impact of citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and Palau in Hawaii. The team also discussed the upcoming enumeration of these populations in Hawaii, Guam and CNMI. They also had an opportunity to receive a briefing from Pacific Command.
Pula states that the number one issue is the military build up affecting Guam and the region. Ms. Creighton's presence elevates the importance of the issue at a higher level of the Federal government. She and our DOI team will meet Governor Felix Camacho and other Guam officials. They also will be briefed by senior Navy and Air Force military officials to include Rear Admiral William French.
Secondly, we will be discussing energy issues on Guam and CNMI, to follow up on Congressional interest on alternative energy issues in all insular areas. In addition to renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and OTEC, USGS scientists will discuss their proposal to establish volcano monitoring stations in the CNMI and potential geothermal energy.
Third, the team will discuss and coordinate emergency management issues with local homeland security officials.
Fourth, the DOI team will visit area hospitals and discuss the upcoming health summit planned for September with the governors and health care administrators. This is a follow up to Secretary Kempthorne's interest in improving health care on the islands.
The team will probably discuss other important issues that may come up including the recent CNMI immigration legislation recently signed by the President.