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Lemanu and Amata meet with senior Commerce and Interior officials ahead of IGIA

Amata and governor with others
Marine Sanctuary process, H.R. 6062, and NEPA permit delays on agenda

Washington, D.C. — Governor Lemanu P.S. Mauga, members of his administration, and Congresswoman Amata engaged with several Biden Administration officials prior to the Interior Department’s IGIA conference. 

First, Governor Lemanu and Congresswoman Amata met with Department of Commerce Assistant Secretary for NOAA Jainey Bavishi and members of her team to review the current status of the proposed National Marine Sanctuary in the Pacific Remote Islands region. 

The Governor and Congresswoman together stressed to Assistant Secretary Bavishi the critical importance of allowing American Samoa continued fishing access in some capacity to sustain its cannery operations, and all of the jobs dependent on a productive tuna operation based in American Samoa.

Also, several members of Governor Lemanu’s team raised important issues related to permits being delayed for port expansion, seawall construction, and other infrastructure projects by the federal NEPA process and the need for better coordination among the federal agencies.

Following that discussion, the Governor and Congresswoman met with Interior’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs Keone Nakoa and OIA Director John Brewer about several Capital Improvement Projects (CIP).

The Assistant Secretary noted that the Interior Department had weighed in with support for Governor Lemanu’s application to become an associated member of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF). The Governor and Congresswoman also thanked the Assistant Secretary for his testimony in support of Congresswoman Amata’s H.R. 6062 self-determination bill regarding the American Samoa constitution.

Finally, several members of Gov. Lemanu’s team raised important issues related to permits being delayed for port expansion, seawall construction, and other infrastructure projects by the federal NEPA process; the need for better coordination among the federal agencies and local agencies; and also issues related to additional grant opportunities for the Office of American Samoa Cultural Affairs.