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Author: Debora Aberastury

US Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources holds hearing on state of US territories

On February 26, 2019, a full committee hearing of the US Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources was held to examine the current state of the US territories. The Chair of the Energy and Natural Resources committee Senator Lisa Murkowski (R) of Alaska and ranking member Senator Joe Manchin (D) of West Virginia gave the opening remarks. The governors of Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam attended the hearing, with the governor of American Samoa submitting written testimony. “I think it’s fair to say that Congress doesn’t always acknowledge the contributions that...

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Northern Mariana Islands and Guam begin recovery after Super Typhoon Yutu

The Northern Mariana Islands and Guam are recovering, after Super Typhoon Yutu hit the US territories this past month. At the time of landfall, Yutu was a Category 5 super typhoon with the last recorded maximum sustained winds of 180 mph. The storm strengthened with little warning – going from a Category 1 to Category 5 within a day, right before landfall on the US territories. At the time of this article, it was the strongest typhoon in the record of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s database to pass over Saipan and Tinian; tied for the most powerful storm on earth...

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The US House Committee on Natural Resources’ questionable Twitter antics

The US House Committee on Natural Resources held an oversight meeting on “Management Crisis at the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority and Implications for Recovery” on July 25, 2018. A Twitter feud, sparked days prior, lead to one empty seat at the table. Governor Ricardo Rosselló skipped the hearing after the Committee on Natural Resources’ Twitter account posted a tweet on July 19 stating “Call your office, @RicardoRossello” along with an attachment of an invitation to testify himself or send someone from his administration. Rosselló stated in a press conference that the tweet “showed a major lack of respect...

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Puerto Rico’s political self-insularity causing low electoral turnout stateside

Puerto Rico has one of the highest levels of voter participation in the western hemisphere – yet when Puerto Ricans move from the islands to the mainland US, electoral turnout is low among Puerto Ricans. This low turnout is partially linked to the lack of knowledge of the political process on the mainland, the issues that are voted on, differences between political parties, how often people vote, information on voter IDs, and even how to register to vote itself. Although Puerto Rico is part of the US, the electoral culture on the islands is drastically different than that of the mainland...

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America’s day begins in Guam

The first of the sun’s rays hits the United States, not along the eastern coast, but on the pacific; America’s day begins in Guam. Part of the Mariana Islands island chain, Guam is a US territory since 1898. The territory falls in the Chamorro Time Zone as defined by Congress, a full 15 hours ahead of the North American Eastern Time Zone. The territory is small – spanning 58 kilometers long and 19 kilometers wide at its widest point, with a total of 217 square miles in total area (compared to the state of Rhode Island, which is 1,545...

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