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Dept. of Interior details Am Samoa’s $3.8+ million in FY 2021 grants

Nikolao Pula
Money for a con-con, tourism, cybersecurity and more
Source: DOI-OIA media release

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Interior is detailing the $3,866,108 in grant funding to ASG from the U.S. Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Office of Insular Affairs’ Technical Assistance Program, Maintenance Assistance Program, and CARES Act funding for fiscal year 2021.

Last week DOI Secretary Deb Haaland and Acting Assistant Secretary Nikolao Pula joined Governor Lemanu Peleta Mauga on a phone call announcing funds that will support constitutional convention planning, human resource development and training, technological upgrades, digitization and preservation efforts, and small business incubation efforts in American Samoa.

 “We appreciate the time and the attention that Secretary Haaland has given to the territory of American Samoa and we look forward to working with her side by side as we carry out the President’s agenda to ensure that all Americans, especially in the territories, are included,” said Nikolao Pula, Acting Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs. “The funds will provide important support to the government as they begin to transition out and away from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.”

The Technical Assistance Program grants totaling $2,451,108 for fiscal year 2021 will be provided to various departments and offices within the American Samoa Government (ASG) as follows: 

  • $269,000 — Office of Disaster Assistance and Petroleum Management to update the ASG catalog of infrastructure assets throughout the territory to include semi-autonomous agencies.
  • $256,000 — American Samoa Visitor’s Bureau to develop business opportunities focused on rekindling interest in locally made handicrafts and entertainment activities for residents and future visitors.     
  • $255,811 — American Samoa Development Bank to develop virtual banking.    
  • $225,000 — Office of the Governor to improve information systems management and improve cybersecurity.
  • $250,000 — Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources for a feasibility study to explore development and design of a multipurpose and integrated marina that supports fisheries, and other business activities that could help diversity the economy.
  • $243,000 — Office of the Secretary of American Samoa, the repository for all laws, regulations, and executive orders will be modernizing and standardizing its record keeping capabilities to serve as a model for use throughout the ASG.
  • $210,000 — Department of Treasury for the digital archival of Treasury documents.
  • $175,000 — Department of Treasury for a feasibility study on tax system replacement and design to improve tax processing in the territory.
  • $150,000 — Political Status Office to conduct a constitutional convention in the territory and engage the community in public awareness forums, dialogue and discussions on accountability related the U.S. Constitution and U.S. Common Law.
  • $150,000 — Lyndon B. Johnson Tropical Medical Center to establish a maternal telehealth medicine partnership with the University of Hawai’i’s John A. Burns School of Medicine for the improvement of maternal and fetal health care.
  • $  98,844 – Department of Public Safety for fire equipment and gear.
  • $  85,290 — American Samoa Visitor’s Bureau to restore the Fagatogo/Upper Faga’alu Reservoir Heritage hiking trail.
  • $  83,163 — Pacific Resources for Education and Learning, a nonprofit regional education organization, will conduct an assessment in collaboration with the Department of Education and the Feleti Barstow Library to expand services to develop school libraries into community learning centers.

The Maintenance Assistance Program grants totaling $865,000 are provided to various departments and offices within the American Samoa government for fiscal year 2021 as follows: 

  • $280,000 — Department of Public Works to replace aging gas pumps and rehabilitate the public works and school bus gas stations.
  • $200,000 — Shipyard Authority to repair and upgrade buildings that house the welding and mechanic shops and provide necessary tools.
  • $175,000 — Department of Commerce for office expansion and upgrade promoting a more efficient and healthy work environment that follows COVID-19 guidelines.
  • $150,000 — Lyndon B. Johnson Tropical Medical Center for training in the management of medical equipment, the property, and medical facilities.
  • $  60,000 — Lyndon B. Johnson Tropical Medical Center to upgrade the Safety Office program at the hospital and provide safety training as required by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Lastly, OIA will also be awarding CARES Act funding to LBJ Tropical Medical Center in the amount of $550,000 for the Emergency Medical Services Maintenance & Responder Training project in an effort to meet recommendations and guidelines outlined by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.