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StarKist Signs For Construction Of New Samoan Cold

During his radio program, Gov. Togiola Tulafono, announced he has signed the land lease for the StarKist Samoa cold storage facility to be constructed on government land between the Port Administration and the inter island dock.
The governor then lashed out at “the newspaper and the radio” news for always looking for the small number of critics to make negative comments about the government. Togiola didn’t identify the newspaper and radio news by name but it’s presumed the governor is referring to Samoa News (the newspaper) and KHJ News (the radio).
Togiola said he signed on Friday the land lease for this freezer project, which has attracted a lot of discussion as well as criticism. He didn’t elaborate on how many years the lease is, how much StarKist will pay for the lease and how many jobs are expected to be created by this project.
He said that all public concerns and complaints raised over this project have all been reviewed and addressed. He said he is raising this specific issue again because the lease has been signed and the government is moving forward with project, which he believes will still result in continued criticism.
Togiola said he is not ignoring public concerns, but as a leader of the territory, he must look at the development that will benefit American Samoa now heading into the future.
The governor told Samoa News during a site tour of the Tri-Marine International facility in Atu’u late last month that the StarKist storage facility is a good idea and, depending on how long StarKist will be here, “our lease requires that if they leave at a certain time... the facility will belong to us.”
“...I still believe that it’s just going to be well protected with the things that we are asking them to do and I just listened to some concepts today [during the Tri-Marine tour], that were new to me that I think we can continue to discuss to avoid the environmental concerns” that have been raised, said Togiola.
He also emphasized that the StarKist cold storage facility is just that — a cold storage — and told Samoa News at the time that StarKist had requested to include in the lease the use of the cold storage facility to ‘size’ fish, which he rejected, because it is a part of processing, not cold storage.
The governor believes that when the project is complete and operational, critics will then see its importance and benefits and then those critics will slowly fade away like nothing has happened at all.
More than 600 local residents signed a petition opposing the government and StarKist Samoa’s plans to build the storage facility on the main dock area. Copies of the petition were sent to the governor, StarKist, Congressman Faleomavaega Eni, and the local DOI representative, Lydia Faleafine-Nomura.