Legislation Passed to Provide Federal Damage Assessment for Kīlauea Eruptions
On Tuesday, July 24, 2018, the U.S. Senate passed legislation authored by U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz that will help Hawai‘i Island assess the damage the ongoing Kīlauea eruptions has made to federal infrastructure, the visitor industry and the Hawai‘i Island economy.
“It’s crucial that we understand how our communities and our local economy are being affected by the Kīlauea eruptions and earthquakes,” said Sen. Schatz, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “This is one of many steps the federal government can take to help these communities.”
The amendment, included in a bipartisan spending package, will help aid the response and recovery effort by instructing the Department of the Interior (DOI) to evaluate the damage the eruptions have caused to federal facilities and infrastructure, including Volcanoes National Park, Volcanoes Observatory, and the Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center, and how that has impacted tourism and the local economy. The legislation also asks DOI to work with state and county officials on how to rebuild to support local needs. Final passage of the spending bill is expected at the end of the week.
Since eruptions began on May 3, thousands have evacuated, and more than 700 homes and other structures have been destroyed. Lava now covers 12.9 square miles of Hawai‘i Island. While the overwhelming majority of Hawai‘i Island remains a vibrant tourist destination, federal assistance is critical for impacted families and businesses.