Congressman Faleomavaega today announced that he has requested the Congressional Research Service (CRS) to review several important issues raised by the recent Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 32-13 regarding the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) proposed expansion to Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
Specifically, the important issues Faleomavaega requested CRS to review are:
- Under 48 U.S.C. 1661(b), public land laws that apply in the United States do not apply in American Samoa, however Congress can enact special laws for public land management. Is the National Marine Sanctuary Act (16 U.S.C. 1431, et seq.) a “special law”?
- Does Executive Order (E.O.) 13132- “Federalism” issued by President Clinton on August 4, 1999 apply to American Samoa, given that American Samoa is not a State? If yes, does the expansion of the Marine Sanctuary violate E.O. 13132?
- Is NOAA’s expansion plan of Fagatele Bay in compliance with E.O. 12866- “Regulatory Planning and Review” issued by President Clinton on September 30, 1993?
- Whether the Deeds of Cession of Tutuila and Aunu’u islands (1900) and the Manu’a islands (1904), reserve the land and adjoining water rights to the people of American Samoa?
- Whether NOAA can act to expand Fagatele Bay even if the majority of persons living in American Samoa oppose the expansion in a referendum?
- What control does the American Samoa government have over the surrounding exclusive economic zone and territorial waters?
“The above critical issues raised by the Senate Concurrent Resolution have legal, practical, and political ramifications which deserve further Congressional review. This is why I have requested CRS to conduct a careful analysis of the issues. I look forward to informing the Fono about the results once the review is completed.” Faleomavaega concluded.