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

News Release October 11, 2002


Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that he has contacted the Federal EPA and requested a full investigation regarding American Samoa’s fuel shortage.

"It is my understanding that a Mobil tanker carrying about 400 tons of fuel attempted to offload its product in American Samoa about a month ago but was turned away at the local terminal because the fuel did not meet federal EPA requirements," Congressman Faleomavaega said. "The General Manager for BP in Fiji said it is his understanding that the tanker was turned away because the fuel was missing an additive. Without the additive, the fuel fails to meet EPA standards."

"It is also my understanding that Mobil routinely sends fuel to American Samoa without this additive. However, I have been informed that once the fuel is on-island, Mobil adds the additive before distributing the fuel to our local gas stations," Congressman Faleomavaega said.

"BP claims its fuel arrives in American Samoa with the additive already in it. I simply want to know why one company’s fuel meets federal EPA standards before arriving on island any why the other company’s fuel does not. I also want to know what federal EPA procedures are in place to ensure that Mobil is adding the necessary additives to its fuel before selling it the public."

"I also want to know why the tanker was turned away if it is common practice to add the additive on island," Congressman Faleomavaega said. "It is clear that we are experiencing a fuel shortage partly because a Mobil tanker carrying 400 tons of fuel was turned away. What we need to know is if the fuel on board this tanker did or did not meet Federal EPA standards, and if it did not, why not."

"I also fully support the Governor’s efforts to resolve this issue. My office has been in contact with the U.S. Coast Guard, BP, Mobil and the Federal EPA. At every turn, we have been assured that the Governor is aggressively working to resolve this crisis and I am confident that he will be successful," Congressman Faleomavaega said. "My office has also been informed that the rationing of gas will be temporarily lifted for the next two to three days so that our families and children will be able to celebrate White Sunday."

"On Monday, ASG officials will once again confer with BP and Mobil to reevaluate the necessity of rationing. At this time, BP believes it will be necessary to continue rationing gas until the next tanker arrives in American Samoa on October 21, 2002," Faleomavaega said.

"It is also my understanding that ASG officials will be meeting with BP and Mobil suppliers on October 19, 2002 in Honolulu. I am hopeful that as a result of these discussions a plan will be put in place which will guarantee that the people of American Samoa will never face this kind of crisis again," the Congressman concluded.

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