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Radewagen: ‘Over-zealous green politics’ taking its toll on American Samoa’s fishery


Rep .Uifa’atali Amata Radewagen

By Pacific Island Times News Staff

 

The federal government will have to share the burden of economic contraction facing American Samoa as a result of the proposed expansion of a marine sanctuary in the Pacific, according to the territory's delegate to the U.S. Congress.


“I assure you that if the fishing industry fails in American Samoa, the long-term cost to the federal government will increase exponentially,” Rep. Uifa’atali Amata Radewagen said at a hearing held last week by the House Committee Natural Resources Committee


“Instead of our little $28 million buffer account, the territory will instead require hundreds of millions in federal assistance as our island drops even further below the poverty line,” she added.


Radewagen reiterated her opposition to the Biden administration’s plan to close off more areas in the Pacific Remote Islands Marine Monument, which is part of an initiative to “conserve 30 percent of nature by 2030,” also known as 30x30.


“Unfortunately, our fishing industry and our self-sufficiency are now under existential pressure from over-zealous and short-sighted green politics,” she added.


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“American Samoa’s first cannery many decades ago was built with support from a (Department of the Interior) initiative to kickstart our economy. Now StarKist is second only to the local government as an employer,” Radewagen said, addressing DOI Secretary Deb Haaland at the committee hearing.


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration held a series of meetings in September last year but has not released a status update on the marine sanctuary.


Radewagen asked the administration to provide an economic plan for the territory if the marine sanctuary expansion were to lead to the cannery shutdown.


She noted that the monument had already doubled in size since the Obama administration


"With this expansion, 777,000 square miles of tuna fishing grounds which supply our cannery will be subject to multiple layers of environmental oversight," Radewagen said, warning that adding another layer of bureaucracy adds no further protection.


“To put that in perspective, that is over four times the size of California. Our natural resources are already protected under the Magnuson-Stevens Act," she added.




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