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Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, July 3, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesFeds Meet With DeJongh, V.I. Officials

Feds Meet With DeJongh, V.I. Officials

Assistant Secretary of the Interior Anthony Babauta met with Gov. John deJongh Jr. and other V.I. officials last week, discussing the territory’s energy challenges, health care needs, federal land swaps and all the federal-territorial issues important to the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to Government House.

“The Interior Department is very much an advocate for this territory, and Secretary Babauta has always been a supporter of the Virgin Islands,” deJongh said in a statement.

"Babauta demonstrated this commitment to our territory’s success after the sudden announcement of the Hovensa closure, when he organized a meeting with high-level federal officials for us to present our case for greater assistance,” deJongh said.

During his visit, Babauta toured the V.I. Water and Power Authority facility on St. Croix with Karl Knight, director of the V.I. Energy Office. Knight shared the territory’s approach to reduce its dependence on diesel fuels, including the potential the implementation of natural gas infrastructure, solar and wind projects, and a proposed electrical cable to Puerto Rico.

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DeJongh and Babauta discussed the administration’s continuing efforts with the federal government to establish a visa waiver program to boost the territory’s medical and sports tourism. They also discussed progress regarding the proposed land swap to facilitate construction of a new school on St. John, and addressed the Salt River co-management agreement and the ongoing development of a state-of –the art Marine Research Center at Salt River.

Babauta used some of his time in the territory to meet public, private and non-profit sector health care professionals to gain a better understanding of the territory’s health care challenges.

He met local farmers on St. Croix and spoke about agricultural development projects with Agriculture Secretary Louis Peterson. The two toured the site of a new agricultural development in Estate Bethlehem.

The two also talked about plans to celebrate the 2017 centennial of the transfer of the territory from Denmark to the United States and the appropriate opportunity for federal involvement. DeJongh has already opened discussions on the matter with the Danish Ambassador to the United States to ensure the approaching historic milestone will be properly celebrated and its potential benefit to the territory maximized, according to Government House.

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Assistant Secretary of the Interior Anthony Babauta met with Gov. John deJongh Jr. and other V.I. officials last week, discussing the territory's energy challenges, health care needs, federal land swaps and all the federal-territorial issues important to the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to Government House.

“The Interior Department is very much an advocate for this territory, and Secretary Babauta has always been a supporter of the Virgin Islands,” deJongh said in a statement.

"Babauta demonstrated this commitment to our territory's success after the sudden announcement of the Hovensa closure, when he organized a meeting with high-level federal officials for us to present our case for greater assistance,” deJongh said.

During his visit, Babauta toured the V.I. Water and Power Authority facility on St. Croix with Karl Knight, director of the V.I. Energy Office. Knight shared the territory's approach to reduce its dependence on diesel fuels, including the potential the implementation of natural gas infrastructure, solar and wind projects, and a proposed electrical cable to Puerto Rico.

DeJongh and Babauta discussed the administration’s continuing efforts with the federal government to establish a visa waiver program to boost the territory’s medical and sports tourism. They also discussed progress regarding the proposed land swap to facilitate construction of a new school on St. John, and addressed the Salt River co-management agreement and the ongoing development of a state-of –the art Marine Research Center at Salt River.

Babauta used some of his time in the territory to meet public, private and non-profit sector health care professionals to gain a better understanding of the territory's health care challenges.

He met local farmers on St. Croix and spoke about agricultural development projects with Agriculture Secretary Louis Peterson. The two toured the site of a new agricultural development in Estate Bethlehem.

The two also talked about plans to celebrate the 2017 centennial of the transfer of the territory from Denmark to the United States and the appropriate opportunity for federal involvement. DeJongh has already opened discussions on the matter with the Danish Ambassador to the United States to ensure the approaching historic milestone will be properly celebrated and its potential benefit to the territory maximized, according to Government House.