SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, July 8) - Governor Juan N. Babauta says "part of the problem" with Compact Impact reimbursements is that "everybody has their own estimates," and an agreement on the amount Hawaii, Guam and the CNMI will get has not been reached with the federal government.

Still, the governor lauded Deputy Assistant Interior Secretary for Insular Affairs David B. Cohen, for asking Congress to set aside $15 million in annual mandatory Compact Impact funding for Hawaii, Guam and the Northern Marianas.

The federal government is required to reimburse states and territories that host migrants from the Freely Associated States — Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Marshall Islands.

"($15 million) sounds very good," the governor said. "We have discussed that with Mr. Cohen (and) he has been very helpful. I think this is...the first attempt to actually put in place some funding (for Compact Impact) and I commend him for that," Babauta added.

The $15 million is expected to be divided based on the number of FAS migrants hosted by Hawaii, Guam and the CNMI.

The CNMI, however, is already claiming $15 million to $18 million a year in Compact Impact costs.

"Even with (the federal government’s) conservative estimate, which is quite lower than ours, we have not gotten the money that should really go to the CNMI," Babauta said.

July 8, 2003

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