Secretary Haaland Visits Northern Mariana Islands, Highlights Investments to Protect Cultural and Natural Resources

President Biden’s Investing in America agenda investing in climate resilience, ecosystem restoration

Last edited 07/21/2023

Date: Friday, July 21, 2023


SAIPAN, NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS — Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland kicked off a week-long visit to the Pacific Islands today in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), where she highlighted the Biden-Harris administration’s ongoing commitment to protecting and investing in the natural and cultural resources of the U.S. territory.

Secretary Haaland, Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs Carmen G. Cantor and Deputy Assistant to the President and Asian American and Pacific Islander Senior Liaison Erika L. Moritsugu met with CNMI Governor Arnold I. Palacios and Lt. Governor David M. Apatang to discuss the ongoing recovery from Typhoon Mawar and the importance of preserving the cultural history of the territory. The Secretary and her delegation affirmed the Biden-Harris administration’s unwavering commitment to supporting the people of the CNMI.

Secretary Haaland also announced $1,146,133 in Office of Insular Affairs (OIA) Technical Assistance Program (TAP) grant funds for the territory to support the following projects:

  • $465,035 for the Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation (Hospital) Operating Room Imaging System; 
  • $250,000 for Typhoon Mawar emergency and recovery support;
  • $241,423 for the CNMI Labor Force Survey;  
  • $132,775 for the CNMI Prevailing Wage Study; and
  • $56,900 for CNMI Veterans Health Transportation for Rota and Tinian.

The funding provided for Typhoon Mawar recovery support responds to President Biden’s emergency declaration for the CNMI, which directed federal partners to support and supplement Commonwealth and local response efforts due to the emergency conditions resulting from Typhoon Mawar on May 22, 2023.

While on Saipan, Secretary Haaland toured the Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation which has received funds from OIA for a number of projects, including a recent grant for a new imaging system in the operating room. She also visited natural and cultural resources across the island, including Bird Island and Kalabera Cave, which has also been a recipient of OIA funding support. She also honored American veterans by laying a wreath at the American Memorial Park Court of Honor.

In addition to the grants announced by the Secretary in Saipan, OIA provided $1,608,516 in FY 2023 TAP funds in June for financial management needs and priorities identified as urgent needs in the territory by Governor Palacios.

Secretary Haaland’s visit highlighted how President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is making significant investments in climate resilience and ecosystem restoration in CNMI. Through the Inflation Reduction Act, the Department is providing over $2.7 million to CNMI for numerous priority climate resilience projects, including to restore and rehabilitate Jeffrey’s Beach; improve stormwater infrastructure at Tanapag Middle School and the Gregorio T. Camacho Elementary School; rehabilitate the shoreline at Tanapag Beach Park and the Lower Base Lift Station; update the CNMI Stormwater Management Manual; and through other projects.

The Department has made another $5.5 million available to the U.S. Territories, including CNMI, to provide domestic water supplies to households that do not have potable water. To date, $115.8 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding has been provided across the administration to CNMI.


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