|March 19, 2002
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
|WASHINGTON, D.C.—FALEOMAVAEGA’S NATIONAL PARK BILL PASSES HOUSE|
| Congressman Faleomavaega announced
today that the bill he introduced to expand the National Park of American
Samoa on the Islands of Ofu and Olosega passed the U.S. House of Representatives
on March 19, 2002.
“This is an important step for our National Park,” Congressman Faleomavaega said “and I am pleased that the legislation was so well received in the U.S. House of Representatives. My good friend, Congressman J.D. Hayworth (R-Arizona), managed the bill for the majority, and after noting the importance of the cultural, historical and biological resources in both the existing park and the proposed addition, he urged his colleagues to pass the bill.”
“I want to thank the village chiefs of Olosega and Sili for their support of this important piece of legislation,” Faleomavaega said. “In 1998, I received a request from the village chiefs of Sili and Olosega to include portions of their village lands within the national park. The chiefs noted the important role the park plays in preserving the natural and cultural resources of the territory, and indicated that the village councils believed there are significant cultural resources on village lands which warrant consideration for addition to the park.”
“About two year ago, I asked the National Park Service to conduct studies to determine if there were resources on the island which warranted inclusion in the park. The National Park Service concluded that the archaeological significance of these lands cannot be understated. The National Park Service researchers also discovered that on top of the island of Olosega were several acres of medicinal plants that are found nowhere else in the Samoan islands,” the Congressman said.
During his floor remarks, Congressman Faleomavaega also noted that Dr. Sylvia Earle, one of the world’s most renown marine ocean scientists, recently found that one of the rarest giant clams in the world can only be found in the Samoan islands. In addition, Dr. Paul Cox, one of the world’s most renown ethnobotanists, has also discovered that ancient Samoan medicinal plants may have beneficial properties for the treatment of HIV/AIDS.
“The national park of American Samoa is important both culturally and ecologically,” Congressman Faleomavaega said. “This is why I am deeply appreciative of my colleague’s support in passing this legislation. I am also appreciative of the White House Administration’s support. The White House is faced with increasing budget constraints as a result of national priorities like the war on terrorism and defense needs but continues to find balance in addressing other matters of national and local concern.”
“I want to thank the Honorable Fran P. Mainella, Director of the National Park Service, for her efforts in securing the administration’s support of this bill,” Congressman Faleomavaega said. “I also want to thank Mr. John J. Reynolds, Regional Director of the Pacific West Region National Park Service, who testified on behalf of the Department of the Interior and in support of H.R. 1712.”
“The next step in the legislative process is
for the bill to be referred to the U.S. Senate for consideration,” Congressman
Faleomavaega said. “To become law, the bill will have to pass the
Senate and be signed by the President. If this happens, the Federal
government will make lease payments to the families and villages of Sili
and Olosega on an annual basis, subject to negotiation with the High Court
of American Samoa.”
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