|October 17, 2002
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
|WASHINGTON, D.C.—FALEOMAVAEGA OFFICIALLY REQUESTS FEDERAL EPA INVESTIGATION REGARDING QUALITY OF AMERICAN SAMOA’S FUEL SUPPLY|
| Congressman Faleomavaega
announced today that he has once again contacted the federal EPA and officially
requested a full and immediate investigation regarding the quality of American
Samoa’s fuel supply.
“I have informed the Honorable Christine Whitman, Administrator for the US EPA, that American Samoa has been experiencing a severe gasoline shortage that is threatening our economy and the safety of our residents,” Congressman Faleomavaega said. “This crisis has been brought on in part because a Mobil tanker carrying 400 tons of fuel was diverted because the fuel was missing a detergent additive. Without the additive, the fuel failed to meet federal EPA requirements.”
“I have also learned that it has been common practice for Mobil to blend this detergent additive on island. However, I have informed Ms. Whitman that there is some concern that Mobil shipments may not have been dosed with the required detergent additive for a period of two years or more. There is also concern that the current gasoline pool in stock may not be compliant,” Faleomavaega said.
“Both BP and Mobil supply fuel to American Samoa. BP claims that its fuel arrives on island with the detergent already in it. I have asked the EPA to determine why one company’s fuel meets federal EPA standards before arriving on island and why the other company’s fuel does not. I also want to know what federal EPA procedures are in place to ensure that Mobil is adding the necessary additives to its fuel before selling it to the public,” Congressman Faleomavaega said.
“I also want to know what federal EPA procedures are in place to monitor whether the additive is being properly blended before the fuel is distributed to local gas stations in American Samoa. If the EPA’s investigation concludes that either BP or Mobil has failed to comply with federal law, I want to be provided with an assessment of the damage this may have caused to American Samoa’s environment.”
“I have also informed the EPA that the people of American Samoa are concerned about the damage this may have caused to their cars, and on their behalf, I have requested a full assessment and report. I have made it clear that I am deeply concerned that some EPA and Mobil officials are now contending that no harm could result if the detergent is missing from American Samoa’s fuel supply. I will not accept such an assessment,” Congressman Faleomavaega said.
“Simply put, federal law mandates that fuel supplies must be dosed with this additive in order for the fuel to be considered compliant. This means that it matters whether the additive is in or out and this also implies that damage may occur if the fuel is not dosed with this additive. If the federal EPA investigation concludes that one or both of these oil companies willfully failed to dose our fuel with this additive, I want to know what fines will be assessed and how the Territory will be compensated for the damage that may have resulted.”
“I also want to be provided with some assurances that the EPA is monitoring American Samoa’s fuel supply. If a plan is not in place to assure that BP and Mobil are complying with federal law, then I am requesting that a plan be put in place to ensure that future supplies of fuel meet all applicable statutory requirements,” Congressman Faleomavaega said.
“I have also requested a full accounting of any waivers that the EPA may have granted to American Samoa regarding its fuel supply. Finally, I have asked whether blending additives on island is an acceptable EPA practice or if this is also a violation of federal law.”
“If this investigation finds that either BP or Mobil has failed to comply with federal law, then I believe the people of American Samoa deserve to have some assurances that they will never face this kind of crisis again. In response to the phone calls my office has received from constituents worried about their cars and buses, I also believe the people of American Samoa deserve an apology and just compensation for any damage they may have incurred,” the Congressman concluded.
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