CLINTON APPROVES $215 MILLION FOR SEVEN ISLAND AREAS

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 24, 1997 - PIDP/CPIS)---U.S. President Bill Clinton has signed a Department of the Interior appropriations bill that authorizes the expenditure of more than $215 million in seven U.S.-affiliated island jurisdictions during fiscal year 1998.

Six of the entities are in the Pacific, including the territories of American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam, and the freely associated states of the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, and Palau. The seventh island jurisdiction is the U.S. Virgin Islands in the Caribbean Sea.

The largest amount of funding, by far, says Allen Stayman, Director of Interior's Office of Insular Affairs, are the sums the U.S. is obligated to pay under three separate Compacts of Free Association.

During 1998, the Federated States of Micronesia will receive $71.9 million, the Republic of the Marshall Islands $36.3 million and the Republic of Palau $19.2 million.

"At a time of overwhelming fiscal restraint," Stayman said, " it is reassuring to know that President Clinton and the Congress are not only not cutting the insular budget, but are actually increasing it slightly."

In addition to the $215 million Department of the Interior appropriation, the U.S.-affiliated islands also are eligible for additional government funds from other departments for such purposes as education, health projects, road building, airport construction, food stamps, and pension payments.

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