Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that he is very pleased with the recent decision announced by ASG and McDonald’s to cancel the lease at Utulei Beach.
“This is a win-win for the government, McDonald’s, and the people of American Samoa,” Faleomavaega said. “As I said for the past year and half during the course of this debate, the people of American Samoa support McDonald’s and welcome the construction of another McDonald’s anywhere in the Pago Pago Bay area or other villages in the Eastern District, but not Utulei Beach. Utulei Beach is the people’s beach and, as such, should be protected for generations to come, and I am pleased that Governor Togiola and Mr. Charlie Tautolo agree.”
“I also thank the US National Park Service (NPS) and the Department of the Interior for making sure that the provisions of the Land, Water and Conservation Fund (LWCF) Act were strictly adhered to throughout this process. Since 1995, under the administrations of Governors Lutali and Tauese, ASG entered into a contractual agreement with the NPS placing Utulei Beach Park within the LWCF as park land dedicated to public outdoor recreational use in perpetuity.”
“As a result, Utulei Beach cannot be commercially developed unless ASG offers up land of equal value and recreational use. To my knowledge, there is no land like Utulei Beach which ASG could offer up in exchange and, in part, I am sure this is what led to the cancellation of the McDonald’s lease.”
“Again, I am pleased that the lease has been cancelled and I thank all involved for reaching this decision which is in the best interest of our people,” Faleomavaega concluded.