CONGRESSMAN UNDERWOOD HAILS RELEASE

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CONGRESSMAN ROBERT A. UNDERWOOD Washington, D.C.

News Release December 10, 1999

OF $11 MILLION TO GUAM

Congressman Robert A. Underwood hailed today’s release by the Department of Interior of more than $11 million to the Government of Guam as the fruitful culmination of many months of hard work on the part of his office, the Governor of Guam and the Clinton Administration.

"The money has now been officially transmitted to the Government of Guam and this completes the (funding) cycle for this year," Congressman Underwood said after the signing of documents transmitting $7.58 million in Compact impact aid, $3.3 million for Y2K remediation funding for the Guam Power Authority and $300,000 to the University of Guam. The Compact impact funding includes an additional $3 million over the $4.58 Guam gets annually, but is $2 million less than what the Clinton Administration had originally sought. Only after much negotiation did congressional appropriators and White House negotiators agree to the $3 million figure.

"We struggled long and hard for the additional $3 million," Underwood said, "But I would add that I’m not entirely satisfied with the way the money has been earmarked for capital improvement projects. By stipulation, the $4.58 million is for capital improvement projects, and the additional $3 million is being interpreted the same way. I don’t think that’s an appropriate interpretation. Be that as it may, we have $7.58 million and that’s good news for Guam."

The additional $3.3 million in Y2K funding completes a months long effort on the part of Congressman Underwood to secure more than the originally announced grant of only $60,000 to Guam. Working together, Congressman Underwood, Governor Carl Gutierrez and the Interior Department’s Office of Insular Affairs managed to get Guam’s share increased to a total of $7.1 million. The final installment of $3.3 million is earmarked for the Guam Power Authority exclusively.

Although it is the smallest portion of the $11 million package, the $300,000 grant to UOG is "the real diamond in the rough," the Congressman said. "This money is earmarked for the development of the Marine Resources Pacific Consortium at the University of Guam and is very good news for all our friends at the Marine Lab who have worked long and hard on this, particularly Dr. Bob Richmond. This is a super important project for UOG because it begins the process of establishing a sea grant program. Currently, Guam, the CNMI and the rest of Micronesia are served out of the program at the University of Hawai‘i.

"There’s been a great deal of effort on the part of UOG, the Governor’s Office and myself to emphasize that the Micronesian region is ready to have its own full sea grant program. By earmarking the funds for the consortium, Interior has expressed its agreement. And we look forward to seeing a sea grant program come to fruition in the long run. It will have a long and sustained impact on our environment, the health of the oceans around us and, of course, on scientific investigation at the University of Guam."

For additional information, contact: E-Mail: guamtodc@mail.house.gov  Cathy Gault TEL: (671) 475-2404 in Guam

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