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Biden Awards The Territory $5.6M To Combat The Impact of Climate Change

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — The territory is poised to receive just over $5.6 million of the $3 billion recently approved by President Biden to increase the nation’s resilience to the impact of climate change. This significant investment has been made available for natural hazard mitigation measures across all 59 major disaster declarations issued due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

To confront the growing climate change crisis, FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program will provide funding for mitigation projects to every state, tribe, and Territory that received a major disaster declaration in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The territory’s total amount of $5,627,618 was based on a four percent calculation of the estimated total amount of FEMA Public Assistance awards as of June 1, 2021.

“FEMA continues to support the U.S. Virgin Islands as they build a more resilient infrastructure during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mark A. Walters, Coordinator of FEMA’s U.S. Virgin Islands Caribbean Area Office. “This additional funding will go further to assist the territory with its hazard mitigation efforts and future needs associated with the impacts of changes to the climate,” he added.

This funding will support the prioritization of mitigation needs in both districts. The Territory’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program will review submitted proposals and approve projects designed to reduce the risks associated with climate change, address residential vulnerabilities, help utilities or other critical facilities adapt to changing weather conditions, and undertake other infrastructure protection measures. 

“This critical funding will bolster the Territory’s efforts to rebuild resiliently by constructing structures, developing infrastructure projects and supporting community initiatives that will ensure our systems are able to withstand any disaster event,” said Adrienne Williams-Octalien, director of the Office of Disaster Recovery.

Eligible applicants for this funding are government agencies and private/non-profit entities with a 501(c)(3) designation. Interested parties can request an application package from the Territorial Hazard Mitigation Officer by sending an email to hmgp@vitema.gov or calling (340) 773-2244. Applications must be received by August 5, 2022.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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