October 20, 1998
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PAGO PAGO ---- HOUSE PASSES $1.6 MILLION FOR EMERGENCY
WATER TREATMENT EQUIPMENT FOR SAMOA;
SENATE TO VOTE WEDNESDAY
Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that the House of Representatives has passed an omnibus bill providing $486.7 billion in appropriations for fiscal year 1999. The Senate is scheduled to vote on the bill on Wednesday, and the President is expected to sign the bill into law. The conference report on the bill contains a provision urging the Administration to use part of the disaster assistance funding in the bill to purchase water treatment equipment for American Samoa.
"After months of drought conditions and below-average rainfall, American Samoa's sources for drinking water remain in critical condition," said Faleomavaega. "With the language in the disaster assistance portion of the FY99 omnibus appropriations bill, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is committed to providing a grant to ASPA to purchase water purification equipment totaling 75% of the approximately $2.2 million needed."
Faleomavaega added, "I want to personally thank Abe Malae and his ASPA staff, and Mr. Cliff Humphrey of the Rural Electrification Association for their outstanding efforts in getting this project together with my office."
This equipment will be used to make water collected from the Fagatogo catchment and Vaipito stream usable as drinking water. The equipment is expected to add one million gallons a day to American Samoa's fresh water system.
"The new equipment will help us through this emergency and into the future," noted the Congressman. "Even with the return of regular rainfall, it will take years for us to replenish our aquifers, and purifying two existing permanent sources of fresh water is financially-sound and environmentally-friendly."
"Inclusion of this provision would not have been possible without the support and active assistance of many people. My communication to Secretary Dan Glickman prompted action by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Department's strong support of efforts within Congress to provide funding ensured success through end-of-year budget negotiations," continued the Delegate.
"As always, Senator Inouye's influence within the Senate Appropriations Committee protected us in the Senate, and direct support from Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, ranking member on the House Appropriations Agriculture Subcommittee, Congressman Jack Kingston, a majority member of the same committee, and their staffs were very effective in working within the House Appropriations Committee.
The omnibus legislation also contained appropriations for the Department of the Interior, through which the American Samoa Government and its CIP's are funded. The bill and conference report packaged together what would normally be eight separate appropriations bills, is over 4,000 pages in length, and stands more than a foot high. Details on further funding contained in the bill for American Samoa will be reported as they become available.