Date: Friday, September 16, 2022
WASHINGTON — Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs Carmen G. Cantor today completed her first official visit to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). During her visit, she met with island leaders, emphasized the agency’s commitment to the people of the Northern Mariana Islands, and announced key investments from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
During her visit, Assistant Secretary Cantor announced $410,974 in grant funding that will be provided through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to conserve local ecosystems. The CNMI Department of Lands and Natural Resources will use the funds to continue its campaign to detect, eradicate and implement preventive measures against the invasive Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle, Oryctes rhinoceros, and the invasive Velvet Bean Vine, Mucuna Pruriens.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests $1.4 billion for ecosystem restoration efforts over the next five years, building on proven projects, programs and partnerships that conserve our cherished wildlife and natural resources critical to supporting local economies, creating jobs, and strengthening communities.
To date, $56 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding has been announced for CNMI. This year alone, the territory will receive more than $13 million for transportation to invest in roads, bridges, public transit, ports and airports and nearly $21 million for clean water. More projects will be added in the coming months, as funding opportunities become grant awards and formula funds become available.
Assistant Secretary Cantor joined Chief U.S. District Judge of the District Court for the CNMI Ramona V. Manglona, Chief U.S. District Judge of the federal District Court of Guam Frances Marie Tydingco-Gatewood, Ninth Circuit Judge Richard Clifton, and General Services Administration Regional Commissioner Dan Brown, and other local leaders at a ribbon-cutting ceremony of the new U.S. District Courthouse building.
She delivered remarks at the 25th Annual District Judicial Conference for the Northern Mariana Islands. She completed her trip with a visit to the Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation, Saipan’s only hospital, and several sites on Saipan that have received funding support through the Office of Insular Affairs.