Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that he has been informed by the Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs for the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that NOAA has agreed to extend the comment period for the proposed rule to add five new sites to the Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary (Sanctuary).
“I want to thank NOAA and the Sanctuary officials for extending the comment period until March 9, 2012,” Faleomavaega said. “During the recent town hall meeting I convened at the Fono Guest House on January 11, 2012, I respectfully made the request for an extension and I especially want to thank Mr. Daniel Basta, Director of the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, and Ms. Genevieve Brighouse, Superintendent of the Fagatele Sanctuary.”
“As I said then, the January 6th deadline was impractical given that it immediately followed the Christmas and New Year holidays and the public did not have enough time to submit their comments. Making things even tougher, many have expressed concerns that they do not have access to computers while some do not have the technical skills to fully utilize and access the website to submit comments online,” Faleomavaega noted.
“Therefore, I am very pleased that NOAA has decided to extend the comment period on this sensitive issue. In light of this recent development, I encourage all stakeholders and interested parties who were going to send our office their petitions to do so immediately. It is my intent to submit my final comment no later than around the end of February next month,” Faleomavaega added.
“Again I want to thank the officials at NOAA and the Sanctuary for their willingness to accommodate the needs of our people. I am very pleased that the public is allowed more opportunity to participate in the discussion and express their views on this important issue,” Faleomavaega concluded.