Gov. explains and defends ASG’s un-permitted work to Army Corps
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Governor Lemanu P. S. Mauga says the “effects of climate change knows no limitations and no boundaries” hence infrastructure projects were implemented under “emergency declaration”.
The comments by the governor were outlined in a statement following his meeting with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) Regulatory personnel, after they served the American Samoa Government with a “Notice of Violation” over unauthorized activities involving the discharge of fill material into waters of the United States and the unauthorized work in navigable waters along the shoreline in the village of Tula.
After serving ASG earlier with a “Notice of Violation” over unauthorized activities in the Tula shoreline area, the U.S Army Corps of Engineers has also launched an investigation into Paramount Builders, Inc. over alleged activities performed in Amaile Stream in Nu’uuli without a federal permit.
According to the statement, last week the governor met with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers Regulatory personnel.
This meeting was to establish communication between the Territory and the federal agency on ways to resolve outstanding actions that have caused the standstill of ongoing projects.
As a result of the meeting, Acting Director Leah Caldwell recommended that ASG resubmit documentation and reports to explain the continuation of the projects under the emergency declaration.
“Obtaining a permit is a timely and lengthy process, however, we are grateful for the conversations and discussions that have happened today with USACE, to move American Samoa forward in this matter,” said Governor.
“As a small island territory, the effects of climate change knows no limitations and no boundaries. It is paramount that the government must continue to do the work to protect our people, and preserve the land that we are losing to the rising tides.”
The statement says that in a separate meeting involving the USACE and the governor’s Chief of Staff Loa Tuimavave T. Laupola, large project federal permit applications, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), technical assistance, communication and the road ahead were key issues discussed.
“As a result of the meeting, Acting Director Caldwell answered favorably and encouraged submitting federal permit applications for a multi-jurisdictional large projects that will include multi-village shoreline projects.
“Acting Director Caldwell also shared that the USACE received BIL funding that can provide the technical assistance to the Territory in anticipation of large infrastructure projects made possible under the BIL funds.
“This will allow ASG the opportunity to request further assistance and funding.
“In moving forward, these proactive discussions will continue with the USACE and ASG to provide the best and appropriate solutions for American Samoa, and mitigate the ongoing effects of climate change.”
Officials from the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers are currently in the territory.