Interior: No $5M funding to shed light on Guam's war past

INTERIOR: Doug Domenech, left, assistant interior secretary for the Department of the Interior's Insular and International Affairs, along with Office of Insular Affairs Director Nik Pula, visited the governor's office on Guam in April 2018. Post file photo

The 2016 defense spending bill included language that authorized Congress to provide a yearly $5 million appropriation for grants “for purposes of appropriately illuminating and interpreting the causes and circumstances of the occupation of Guam during World War II and other similar occupations during the war.”

Three years later, no money for such grants has been made available.

And when Sen. Amanda Shelton and other Guam senators inquired, the U.S. Department of the Interior responded that Congress hasn’t appropriated money for such grants.

The grants are supposed to fund research, educational, and media activities that would shed light on wartime events and experiences on Guam.

In a July 2 letter, Interior Assistant Secretary Douglas Domenech said: “Public law 114-328 did authorize a grant program of this nature, however, unfortunately, there were no specific appropriations for this grant program.”

Shelton had asked about the funds, in part to collect and record Guam’s war survivor stories.

The Interior official said his agency can provide some limited funding to the insular areas for historical and cultural presentation. A GovGuam agency or local nonprofit organization could apply for a technical grant for such purpose, Domenech wrote.