East Hawaii News

Hirono Votes in Support of Key Hawai’i Projects

May 12, 2016, 11:42 AM HST
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A cruise ship docked at Hilo's Pier 1. File photo.

A cruise ship docked at Hilo’s Pier 1. File photo.

Senator Mazie Hirono voted on Thursday morning in support of the Fiscal Year 2017 Energy and Water Appropriations Act. The appropriations fund the activities of the United States Department of Energy and the United States Army Corps of Engineers.

Provisions advocated by Senator Hirono for Hawai’i harbors and renewable energy investments are included in the bill, including over $37 billion nationwide to protect and modernize energy and waterways projects, including access to solar power for low-income families, increasing energy efficiency, and supporting greater use of energy storage.

The act includes over $3 million in funding for the Army Corps of Engineers to maintain Hawai’i harbors, including $400,000 to Hilo Harbor and $1.3 million to Statewide Inspection and Project Condition Surveys.

“The Energy and Water Appropriations Act provides key funding to Hawai’i, which depends on our harbors to keep goods flowing to our families and communities, and is leading the way in clean energy and energy efficiency,” said Senator Hirono. “This legislation was developed through hard-fought, bipartisan compromise, and invests in Hawai’i’s future. The bill supports the maintenance and repair of Hawai’i’s harbors and waterways, and also invests in renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives that can help to keep Hawaii’s momentum in these critical areas.”

Senator Hirono included language to support public-private partnerships to modernize electric grids to allow greater use of electric vehicles and distributed energy systems like home solar panels.

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The legislation also incorporates Senator Hirono’s proposals to create a Department of Defense and Department of Energy pilot program to increase energy efficiency, allocate $48 million to maintain small ports like those in Hawai’i, and protect funding for the Army Corps’ of Engineers Hawai’i Water Management Project, which will make needed improvements to the state’s agricultural water infrastructure.

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