Washington, D.C. – October 8, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Tuesday, Congresswoman Aumua Amata, announced today that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded a grant in the amount of $11.5 million to American Samoa for environmental protection work.
“This crucial grant will be used to fund vital infrastructure and environmental clean-up projects across the island,” said Amata. “Our island’s beauty is one of our greatest treasures and resources and I am thankful that we have not only the funding to move many of these projects forward, but also the good people in those agencies receiving the funds who work hard to maintain and improve American Samoa’s environment and resources,” continued Amata.
The American Samoa Power Authority (ASPA) will receive over $9 million for water infrastructure improvements, to improve drinking water quality, including removing existing boil water notices, and prevent water pollution. $42,000 of the funding will be used for solar power battery storage to support renewable energy on the Manu’a islands.
The American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency (ASEPA), will receive over $2.2 million to fund air, water, and land inspections, monitor the safety of beaches and drinking water, clean-up sites contaminated by waste, and respond to emergencies.
The ASEPA will also receive $292,000 in 2015-2016 Wetlands Program Development Grants to conduct research designed to prevent and eliminate water pollution and protect watersheds and coral reefs health.
ASEPA Environmental Project Priorities include:
• Improve the availability of wetlands data in American Samoa, and increase the ability to protect and restore wetlands habitat. This includes a comprehensive ridge-to-reef protection plan and collection of data that can be used to predict threats to ecosystem health in the watersheds, pinpoint specific sources of degradation, and develop models for identifying threats to coral, plus develop a training toolkit using ecosystem health monitoring criteria.
• Work to remove the existing boil water notice areas on Tutuila, and ensure access to potable drinking water for 100 percent of American Samoa residents;
• Protect Faga’alu Watershed, designated a priority watershed by the US Coral Reef Task Force, and its coral reefs through the reduction of silt and contaminants into Faga’alu stream.
• Protect human health and reduce leptospirosis through implementation of ASEPA’s Piggery Compliance Program;
• Protect coastal waters, coral reefs and indigenous wildlife through water quality monitoring and beach monitoring to help ensure American Samoa has clean beaches for swimming and fishing;
• Conduct outreach and education to American Samoa’s schools and communities, the “Keep American Samoa Beautiful (KASB) Campaign, and American Samoa’s Anti-Litter Program; Clean up and development of contaminated sites;
• Educate farmers on proper pesticide application techniques, and eliminate illegal importation and use of unregistered/foreign pesticides;
• Inspect underground and above ground fuel storage tanks;
• Emergency response, hazardous waste, and clean air program management
“I want to thank the EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest, Jared Blumenfeld for his recognition of the importance of this grant for American Samoa and also thank ASPA CEO, Utu Abe Malae, as well as the American Samoa Le Ofisa O Puipuiaga O le Si’osi’omaga for their work in obtaining this essential funding for helping to maintain our island’s beautiful environment and essential resources,” concluded Amata.