AS-EPA DEPUTIZES NEW OFFICERS FOR ENFORCING ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS IN THE TERRITORY

The American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency (AS-EPA) introduced new officers to its line of enforcement personnel in a ceremony held last week at the agency’s conference room. As the leading agency in enforcing environmental laws in the territory, the AS-EPA continues to recruit officers who are solely responsible for the enforcement of applicable federal regulations and American Samoa’s environmental laws specifically for safeguarding the environment. The AS-EPA enforcement officers are committed to enforcing the laws protecting the environment; explicitly, the air, water, and land resources. The officers completed their assigned responsibilities within a structure of sophisticated environmental science and technology.

The newly sworn officers are Fa’amamata S. Meredith of the Pesticides Branch, Kacey N. Iloilo of the Solid Waste Branch, Fa’amamata M. Meredith of the Solid Waste Branch, and Alma Seu of the Hazardous Materials Branch. All four officers were issued enforcement badges and will be assigned a citation booklet from the A.S. District Court to fulfill their law-enforcement obligations. The short ceremony was presided over by AS-EPA Director Fa’amao Asalele Jr. and Deputy Director William Sili along with their Legal Counsel Marian McGuire.

The officers were trained by the AS-EPA Legal Counsel on the laws, citation issuance, and courtroom procedures. They have also been trained on program policies and enforcement documentation by their branch supervisors and manager Ioane Tomanogi. In addition, they were provided with field training which consists of interviews, warning notices, and dealing with the public, and when possible, off-island training will be provided to the officers relating to their respective programs. The field training for the new officers were conducted over a period of six months, where they observed and assisted inspections and enforcement activities being led by senior officers like Iasona Sigapoa, Tualagi Gaoteote, Ignosy Toeava, and Sikione Sikione among others.

The AS-EPA is strictly enforcing the Keep American Samoa Beautiful Act (KASB) or the Litter Law which was signed into law by Governor Lolo M. Moliga back in 2016. The agency is committed to working with the community in a combined effort through the Island Wide Cleanup Committee (IWCC), KASB Program and other outreach programs. AS-EPA advises the community at large to be mindful of its surrounding and emphasizes that a safer and healthier Samoa starts with the people. Director Asalele Jr. stated that “We need to change our behavior and mindset towards littering. Taking pride in keeping our islands beautiful and clean is a shared obligation that everyone should cherish. Fighting the issue of littering in our islands is an initiative that Governor Lolo Moliga is very passionate about and I am calling out to our community to work together to put a stop to littering in American Samoa.”

For more information about the AS-EPA, visit their website at www.epa.as.gov or contact the office at 633-2304.