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U.S. Congress Delegation To Visit Samoan Tuna Industry

A congressional delegation, arriving next week in the territory, will look at the tuna industry and consider the need to keep StarKist Samoa in the territory, says Congressman Faleomavaega Eni.

The Congressional Delegation (CODEL) to the Pacific, is lead by U.S. Rep. Nick J. Rahall, chair of the House Committee on Natural Resources, which has oversight jurisdiction on the U.S. territories.

The governor’s office said last week afternoon they have been made aware of the delegation and will be met locally by Attorney General Fepulea’i Afa Ripley Jr., who is the current acting governor.

Final activities for the delegation while on island are being coordinated by the Governor’s Office and the local staff of Faleomavaega. There is a traditional welcoming ava ceremony in the planning with the Office of Samoan Affairs.

Vice Speaker Laolagi F.S. Vaeao said the delegation requested  a meeting with local lawmakers and a special gathering at the Fono compound. What is to be discussed at the meeting is now being finalized.

Faleomavaega said last week in a news release the congressional visit to the territory will specifically examine the tuna fishing and processing industries and consider what needs to be done to keep StarKist in the territory.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank my good friend, Chairman Rahall, for taking the time during this recess to include American Samoa as one of the site visits for the Congressional Delegation,” he said. “This CODEL is significant given that the Chairman and Members of the Committee on Natural Resources have jurisdiction in the Congress over matters pertaining to the U.S. territories.”

Besides Rahall and Faleomavaega, who chair the U.S. House Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, & the Global Environment, Committee on Foreign Affairs, other CODEL members coming here are:

U.S. Rep. Jim Costa, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, Committee on Natural Resources

Guam Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo, Chair of the Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans & Wildlife, Committee on Natural Resources

U.S. Rep. Henry Brown, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans & Wildlife, Committee on Natural Resources

U.S. Virgin Islands Congresswoman Donna M. Christensen, Member of the Committee on Energy & Commerce and the Committee on Natural Resources, 2nd Vice Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus

CNMI Congressman Gregorio Kilili Sablan, Member of the Committee on Education and Labor and the Committee on Natural Resources.