23 Jul 2010

Concerns at American Samoa church's plan to build on rain forest land

1:36 pm on 23 July 2010

The largest church in American Samoa has applied to clear more than 2 hectares of prime rainforest land in the west of the territory's main island, Tutuila.

The Congregational Christian Church has filed an application with the Project Notification Review System Board, which issues land use permits.

The church plans to construct health and mission centres and two residential buildings on the land.

The Board has previously rejected a similar application from the church, amid concerns from environmentalists and the departments of Marine and Wildlife and Commerce.

Our correspondent in American Samoa, Monica Miller says the concern is the land is part of the last remaining low lying forest in that part of Tutuila.

"It's where much of the water supply for the western side of the island, which is the most populated side of the island, comes from. It's also a home to endangered trees and birds, so the development that goes on there is quite restricted, in fact there was a plan by the government to have a moratorium on development there."

Monica Miller reporting.