Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that on November 18, 2003 the U.S. House of Representatives agreed to include language in the conference report for the Energy Policy Act of 2003 which will be beneficial to American Samoa and other insular areas.
“This language holds the Secretary of the Interior, in consultation with the Secretary of Energy and the heads of insular governments, responsible for updating the 1982 Territorial Energy Assessment, which is a comprehensive energy report on consumption, importation, and potential for indigenous alternative energy that can be used by insular areas,” Congressman Faleomavaega said. “In addition, the language creates a grant program for projects to protect electrical power and distribution lines in the territories.”
“The inclusion of this section in the Conference Report is crucial because the last Energy Assessment was conducted over 20 years ago in 1982 and many of the recommendations to reduce energy imports and develop indigenous energy sources were not carried out due to a lack of funding or technological development. As a result of our successful efforts to include language requiring a new study to be undertaken, I am hopeful that more interest will be generated and that proposals can be implemented to empower territories to effectively use our indigenous energy sources.”
“Our insular areas have been facing great difficulties in developing our economies, and affordable energy is one very important component towards full economic development,” the Congressman said. “American Samoa, like other insular areas, relies heavily on imported energy, goods, and food products. This is necessitated by our geographical location and a lack of our own source of fossil fuels, and results in higher costs passed on to our residents. This imbalance is a major impediment in fully developing our economy.”
“This is why I would like to thank my colleagues for accepting language which Congressman Rahall and I offered in the Resources Committee along with the other members from the insular areas. This language begins to address the energy needs of the territories and helps us move toward a goal of developing local sources of energy in a balanced and environmentally sound manner. Again, it is my belief that a new study will highlight feasible energy alternatives for us and I am hopeful that the Senate will also agree to this conference report so that we may take advantage of these findings,” the Congressman concluded.