16 Apr 2008

American Samoa to rule on rainforest use in development plan

3:29 pm on 16 April 2008

The High Court in American Samoa is to decide how privately owned land that includes one of the last remaining stands of rainforest on Tutuila can be used.

The government and the Haleck family, which owns the 25 acre property that includes the forest, are to meet in court on April 21st.

The government has asked the court to impose a temporary moratorium on any land development, and claim that any development needs a land permit.

Our correspondent Monica Miller says businessman, Avamua Dave Haleck, wants the government to buy the land now, or he'll proceed with his development plans.

"The government has wanted to preserve this forest area for some time now, but it hasn't been able to come up with the value of the money that the Haleck family wants the government to pay. So the Haleck family has said really its up to them to decide how they want to use their land but there are laws in place that regulate certain types of land uses in certain areas."

Monica Miller.