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American Samoa settles violations of oil spill prevention law

Release Date: 05/15/2006
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi, 808-541-2711, higuchi.dean@epa.gov

(05/15/06) Authority stepping up efforts to prevent oil spills at the harbor and airport

HONOLULU – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently reached an agreement with the American Samoa Port Authority to prepare and implement a plan to prevent any oil spills from its facility in Pago Pago, AS.

The port authority responded quickly to a statement of deficiencies from the EPA, and has since paid a fine of $2,600. More importantly, the port authority is developing an updated comprehensive oil spill prevention and control plan for the commercial harbor and airport. The EPA offers such agreements with reduced penalties when the deficiencies are relatively minor.

“We are pleased that the port authority is taking aggressive steps to eliminate deficiencies, as it is critical to have appropriate oil spill control plans and effective spill containment in place to prevent contaminating the environment,” said Carl Goldstein, American Samoa program manager of EPA Pacific Southwest Region’s Pacific Islands Office. “Delicate coral reef ecosystems and all marine species are easily harmed by oil spills that could be prevented with the proper containment.”

The EPA found that the port authority was failing to comply with federal regulations due to inadequate spill prevention measures and a lack of a certified spill prevention plan. The plan needs to include a firm schedule for any improvements necessary to ensure the facility will meet federal regulations.

Oil spills and other contamination from onshore sources can pollute and harm coral and marine life. The EPA requires near shore oil storage facilities to have spill control and countermeasure plans approved, along with spill containment in place to prevent oil from being discharged into the ocean.

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