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Tuesday, September 27, 2022


Acknowledging that the insular territories of the United States have unequal representation in the federal process compared to the states, President Clinton has established the President's Interagency Group on Insular Areas.
The IGIA will have responsibility for "the coordination, formation and interpretation of federal policies" affecting the territories, "with direct input from the insular areas," according to a news release from the White House Office of Insular Affairs.
The purpose of the new agency is to solidify "an enhanced process for treating insular areas in an even-handed and predictable manner," the release stated.
Those areas covered are the Virgin Islands, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa.
Puerto Rico is not included, IGIA spokesman Keith Parsky said, because there is already a separate interagency group for the commonwealth, and the Office of the President, not the Department of the Interior, has direct responsibility within the Executive Branch for policy regarding Puerto Rico.
The IGIA will be made up of senior officials named by the heads of executive departments, agencies and offices. It will be required to consult with the governors, congressional delegates and other elected representatives of the insular areas in the process of identifying insular issues and making recommendations to the President and other officials, the release said.
Dealing with issues concerning the insular territories often cuts across executive agency lines, the release said. The IGIA's mandate is to work with the Secretary of the Department of Interior and the director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, who will co-chair the group.
The IGIA will facilitate coordination and communication, thereby improving insular relationships with the federal government, Office of Insular Affairs director Danny Aranza said. It will "help to enhance the participation of island leaders on all significant decisions or activities affecting the insular areas," he said.

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