September 17, 1999
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON, D.C. ---- $6.2 MILLION ADDITIONAL FUNDS TO REMOVE VESSELS IN AMERICAN SAMOA
Congressman Faleomavaega today announced that he was just informed by Ms. Sally Yozell, Deputy Assistant Secretary for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, that an additional $6.2 million have been obtained for the removal of the long liner vessels in American Samoa.
Authorized under the Oil Pollution Act Fund, the funds will be used by NOAA in consultation with the Coast Guard and the American Samoa Government to fully remove the vessels.
"For the past three years, I have been working closely with Senator Daniel Inouye on this matter and in the process we consulted with officials at the White House Council on Environmental Quality to try and obtain funds for the removal of the vessels," said Congressman Faleomavaega.
Faleomavaega added, "Based on a joint request between Senator Inouye and myself, I want to personally thank Vice President Al Gore for personally pushing this request through the White House and other appropriate federal agencies."
"Pursuant to the close consultations I had with Governor Tauese Sunia, I also want to thank High Chief Faumuina Tagisia of Leloaloa for his tireless efforts in pushing to get this matter resolved once and for all," Faleomavaega continued.
Faleomavaega again reiterated, "I cannot thank Vice President Al Gore enough for taking this matter to task. And once again, Senator Inouye has been a tremendous help for me in getting these funds."
Faleomavaega also gave this stern statement, "This was all unnecessary where the federal government had to spend millions of dollars to clean up this mess if American Samoa Government had laws requiring all vessels entering the Pago Pago harbor to be certified and bonded so that in the event of hurricanes, as it was in this case, insurance would already be in place to cover the expenses. I respectfully and earnestly call upon the Governor and the Fono to enact laws that would require all vessels coming to American Samoa be certified and bonded, as it is true with all other states and territories. I would be more than happy to work together with everyone to prepare such needed legislation."
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