HOUSE INTERIOR BILL PASSES SUBCOMMITTEE:

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CONGRESSMAN ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA From American Samoa U.S. House of Representatives Washington, D.C.

NEWS RELEASE May 18, 2000

AMERICAN SAMOA'S FUNDING INTACT

Congressman Faleomavaega announced that the appropriations bill for the Department of the Interior passed the Appropriations Subcommittee yesterday on a party line vote.

Funding for American Samoa is at the President's request of $23 million for operations and $10 million for construction. Other territories did not fare so well.

"It appears that this year there will not be attacks to American Samoa's funding through the Department of the Interior," said Faleomavaega after reviewing the results of subcommittee action on the Interior Appropriations bill. "I am satisfied with our level funding for government operations and CIP's, but other areas such as funding for our national park will need continued support and monitoring."

Overall funding for the bill is $302 million below last year, and $1.7 billion below the President's request.

"The party line vote in the subcommittee is an indication that this bill is in trouble at current funding levels," noted the Congressman "and I expect that as the bill moves forward, the funding will go up. While we look ok for now, Guam was cut $4 million below the President's request and CNMI $5 below the President's request. The only OIA increase was to technical assistance, which was increased $1 million above the President's request, but is still $1 million below this year's level."

In addition to the many cuts made to the President's initiatives, the two major areas of contention with the administration are a provision which would stop development of management plans for national monuments designated by the President after 1999, and a provision which would prohibit the Administration from carrying out its plan to manage the Columbia River Basin in the northwest United States. This plan has been in the making for seven years, and it is controversial in part because it may require the breaching of dams to facilitate spawning of several species of northwest salmon.

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