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News Releases from Region 09

EPA awards over $866,000 to American Samoa for environmental protection

06/06/2017
Contact Information: 
Dean Higuchi (higuchi.dean@epa.gov)
808-541-2711

HONOLULU – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $866,397 to the American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency (ASEPA) to strengthen its capacity to protect human health and the environment.

“The American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency has been a great partner in environmental protection,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “We are pleased to support its programs committed to achieving a better environment for all the residents of American Samoa.”

ASEPA uses U.S. EPA funding to support air, water, and land inspections, monitor the safety of beaches and drinking water, cleanup contaminated sites, inspect fuel storage tanks, improve piggery compliance, protect coral reefs, and respond to emergencies. 

Other environmental priorities for the funds include:

  • Improving watershed health, stream water quality, and coral reef health, and developing a training toolkit. This includes a comprehensive ridge-to-reef assessment program used to predict threats to ecosystem health, pinpoint specific sources of degradation, and develop models for identifying threats to coral;
  • Protecting Faga’alu Watershed, designated a priority watershed by the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force, and its coral reefs through the reduction of silt and contaminants into the stream;
  • Ensuring access to potable drinking water for all American Samoa residents and working to remove the need for boil-water notices on Tutuila;
  • Educating farmers on proper pesticide application techniques, and eliminating illegal importation and use of unregistered foreign pesticides;
  • Conducting outreach and education to American Samoa’s schools and communities, including the “Keep American Samoa Beautiful” (KASB) Campaign and American Samoa’s Anti-Litter Program;

"We are grateful for this grant award from USEPA, as our business is looking after the air, land, and water resources in the Territory,” said ASEPA Director Ameko Pato. “By doing so, we play a vital role in promoting the health of our community.  It’s a great business to be in and we are committed to increasing the reach and value of our services. These services are also made possible because of the strong support of Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga for our environmental programs and initiatives that protect human health." 

U.S. EPA also issued a report detailing the accomplishments of its community-driven environmental protection effort in American Samoa. This approach is designed to maximize EPA’s resources to advance local goals by partnering with communities. The report is available at https://www.epa.gov/pi/epa-accomplishments-report-community-driven-environmental-solutions-american-samoa

In June 2015, EPA announced its multi-year commitment to make a visible difference to communities in American Samoa by collaborating closely with the territory to combat environmental challenges. The effort directed technical assistance and other resources to reduce ongoing boil water notices, secure sustainable drinking water sources, rehabilitate contaminated land on the site of the former Rainmaker Hotel, and enhance energy independence in the Manu’a Islands.

The EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region (Region 9) administers and enforces federal environmental laws in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, the Pacific Islands and 148 tribal nations -- home to 50 million people.

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