INTERIOR APPROPRIATIONS NOT SIGNED,

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

NEWS RELEASE September 29, 2000

AMERICAN SAMOA'S OPERATIONS FUNDING
CONTINUES ON SCHEDULE

Congressman Eni Faleomavaega announced today that the Interior Appropriations bill, from which the American Samoa Government gets a portion of its funding, will not be signed into law by September 30th, the last day of the current fiscal year. A law allowing the federal government to operate through October 6th has passed the U.S. House and Senate, and is expected to be signed by President Clinton by September 30th. ASG will continue to receive federal funding for its operations on schedule and in the normal amount.

"I want to thank Danny Aranza and his staff at the Office of Insular Affairs for making the necessary arrangements to ensure ASG receives its operations funding on time. Because the Department of the Interior will only be funded for six days of the new fiscal year, OIA had to make a special request to forward to ASG a full month's operations' funding," said Faleomavaega.

The Interior Appropriations bill passed both the House and Senate in July, but negotiations were stuck on several provisions called "environmental riders". Among the sticking points this year are forest thinning to reduce the chance of catastrophic fires in our national forests, and salmon recovery efforts in the Northwest United States. The most complex negotiations have been over President Clinton's land legacy initiative, and separate legislation which would have authorized $3 billion per year for 15 years from the sale of offshore oil and gas leases to preserve environmentally-important land. "Negotiators did not reach agreement on this issue until Thursday," said the Congressman, "and it appears American Samoa will derive significant benefit from this provision, as I have previously reported."

"Although there has been talk of Congress convening after the election to resolve the budget, there is now a general consensus that these matters should be resolved before the upcoming elections," concluded the Congressman.

The Interior Appropriations conference report was filed today, and the House is expected to consider the bill on October 2nd.

For additional information, contact: Cathy Gault at 671-477-4272

Washington office: 2418 Rayburn Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 Tel: 202-225-1188 Fax: 202-226-0341 Email: guamtodc@mail.house.gov

Guam office: 120 Fr. Duenas Ave., Ste 107 Hagatna, GU 96932 Tel: 671-477-4272 Fax: 671-477-2587

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