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U.S. Department of the Interior - Office of Insular Affairs
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OIA FY2009 Budget Request

$402 Million Slated for Office of Insular Affairs
in President's FY 2009 Budget Request

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- President Bush has proposed a budget of $401.6 million for the Office of Insular Affairs (OIA) in fiscal year 2009, including $79.9 million in discretionary funding and $321.7 in permanent appropriations.

"These funds will enable the Office of Insular Affairs to carry out the Secretary's responsibilities in the U.S. territories and the Freely Associated States by continuing our support for important environmental and governance programs in Pacific and Caribbean island communities," said Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary Nikolao Pula.

"OIA will continue to achieve its mission by promoting sound financial management practices in the insular governments, encouraging private sector-led economic development, and increasing federal responsiveness to the unique needs of island communities," Pula said.

Discretionary programs funded under the FY 2009 budget request will continue long-term assistance efforts and fund a variety of technical assistance and facilities maintenance programs in the U.S.-affiliated islands communities. These jurisdictions include the territories of Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, as well as the three Freely Associated States, which are the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Republic of Palau.

Discretionary funding will support ongoing long term efforts to control the invasive Brown Treesnake on Guam; assist coral reef conservation initiatives; support water and wastewater projects; help insular governments improve their management controls; and support the operations of the American Samoa Government.

Permanent appropriations for FY 2009 include $113 million in payments to Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands and $208.7 million in Compact of Free Association payments to the Freely Associated States.  Guam is slated to receive $40 million in taxes collected in the territory via the IRS code that are transferred to the Government of Guam.  The U.S. Virgin Islands is scheduled to receive $73 million for federal taxes collected on distilled spirits in the territory that are transferred to the local government.

Permanent appropriation for the Freely Associated States include $64,985,000 for the Republic of the Marshall Islands; $102,132,000 for the Federated States of Micronesia; and $11,271,000 for the Republic of Palau.  This funding is mandated under the Compacts of Free Association.

The proposed budget also would provide $227,000 to fund the Office of Insular Affairs, which carries out the Secretary's responsibilities for U.S.-affiliated islands in the Pacific and Caribbean.  The proposed FY2009 budget reflects a decrease of $3.3 million below the 2008 enacted level for reductions in congressional increases.

OIA's programs are part of the Department's strategic plan mission goal of Serving Communities, by helping to increase the self-sufficiency of insular areas.

The insular areas are strategic for the United States from a national defense and security perspective.  The Department of Defense is planning to move some 17,000 military personnel and their dependents from Okinawa, Japan, to Guam between 2010 and 2014.  This move is expected to generate an influx of approximately 20,000 civilian workers and residents to take advantage of new jobs opening on Guam.  An influx of this magnitude will impact the government of Guam and their ability to provide housing and services to these new residents. As plans for the realignment solidify, Interior will work with the government of Guam, the Department of Defense, and other agencies to promote the development of high priority infrastructure projects related to the military realignment.