Interior Assistant Secretary Domenech Visits the USVI

Reviews Hurricane Recovery Efforts; Provides

$2.8 Million for Infrastructure and Utility Needs

Last edited 11/30/2020
Contact Information

Tanya Harris Joshua 202-208-6008

WASHINGTON – Today U.S. Interior Assistant Secretary Insular and International Affairs Doug Domenech met with U.S. Virgin Islands (VI) and FEMA officials in St. Croix to review hurricane rebuilding efforts.  He provided $2.8 million in federal grants for rebuilding infrastructure and utilities.   The funds made available will support upgrades at the local public schools, road rehabilitation in St. Croix, and meter reading for the Water and Power Authority.

“Hurricanes Irma and Maria greatly tested the resiliency of Virgin Islanders but they are stronger than ever,” said Assistant Secretary Domenech. “My team and I visited this week with public and private sector officials on a wide range of issues including how to provide abundant and affordable energy to consumers for the future.  Secretary Zinke continues to be a strong advocate for VI needs at the highest levels of the Trump Administration.”  

Assistant Secretary Domenech met various other officials over his two-day visit to the territory, with site visits at the Juan F. Luis Hospital and Medical Center on St. Croix, and the Virgin Islands National Park on St. John.  Office of Insular Affairs Policy Director Basil Ottley, who has accompanied the Assistant Secretary to the territory, will remain for recovery meetings through March 24.

The $2.8 million in federal funds presented today include $1.5 million for 1) structural repairs at U.S. Virgin Islands public schools to include mechanical, electrical, and plumbing upgrades, 2) $1.2 million towards rehabilitation of roads in Christiansted on St. Croix.  This funding was made available through the Capital Improvement Programs of the Office of Insular Affairs in the Department of the Interior.

In addition, $178,996 was provided to the VI Water and Power Authority (WAPA) for Hurricane Recovery Meter Reading Assistance. Hurricanes Maria and Irma destroyed nearly 90 percent of electric distribution services across the territory and completely destroyed the automated meter infrastructure, cutting electricity, and simultaneously bringing collection and revenues to a halt. 

With critical assistance from FEMA, WAPA has conducted more than $4 million dollars in component repairs for systems and restored electric transmission and distribution to more than 98 percent of the territory.  Until automated reading capabilities are fully restored, OIA Technical Assistance is being provided to facilitate manual readings for WAPA for the next three months.  There are more than 41,000 meters across the three islands of St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix.  The funding will provide an important jumpstart to much-needed revenue streams through timely billing and collections.


The Secretary of the Interior is responsible for coordinating federal policy with respect to the territories of the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and administering and overseeing U.S. Compact federal grants provided to the freely associated states of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau. On behalf of the Secretary, the Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs executes these responsibilities through the Office of Insular Affairs of the Department of the Interior.



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