Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that, in a letter dated July 27, 2006 and received in his office on August 4th, the Director of the US Department of the Interior’s National Park Service, Fran P. Mainella, responded to Faleomavaega’s letter of June 14, 2006 to Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne regarding the proposed construction of a McDonald’s at Utulei Beach Park.
“I am pleased that the US Department of the Interior has responded to my letter and I thank Director Mainella for her leadership in making sure the people of American Samoa are heard on this issue,” Congressman Faleomavaega said. “I also thank her for enclosing another copy of the National Park Service’s letter to Governor Togiola dated July 6, 2006 which outlines the decision points from their June 23rd meeting.”
The entire text of Director Mainella’s letter is included below and a copy has also been provided to local media outlets including Samoa News.
Dear Mr. Faleomavaega:
Your letter of support of June 14, 2006, for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is greatly appreciated, as well as your willingness to assist the National Park Service in bringing all parties together on the Utulei Beach Park issue. It took your understanding of the national implications of the LWCF to focus the attention on Utulei Beach Park.
As you correctly point out, the National Park Service has provided grants to this park in Pago Pago for a number of years and based on a series of agreements and maps delineating the beach front park dated from the 1960s and 1990s.
Thanks to your intervention, National Park Service and Department of the Interior representatives discussed this issue with the Governor on June 23, 2006, in Oakland, California.
A copy of our letter to the Governor outlining the decision points from the June 23 meeting is enclosed. We will continue to consult with you, especially on these LWCF grants and any conversion, in the interest of sustaining all recreation options for the people of American Samoa and to prevent any misunderstanding about granting conditions.
Please accept our profound appreciation for your leadership role in this issue.
Fran P. Mainella
Director, National Park Service, US Department of the Interior
“Again, I thank Director Mainella for taking a direct interest in Utulei Beach Park. Fran Mainella is the 16th Director and first woman to lead the National Park Service in the organization's history. For the past six years, she has overseen all National Parks in the US. Recently, she announced she will be leaving her position to devote more time to her family, and on behalf of our people, I wish her well in her future endeavors. I also look forward to continued discussions with the National Park Service and our local leaders to find a favorable and expedited solution to the problems associated with construction of a McDonald’s at Utulei Beach which is an issue that has become of national concern,” Congressman Faleomavaega concluded.