Hirono Votes to Advance Key Bills to Protect Public Lands, Natural Resources
Sen. Mazie K. Hirono, on Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018, voted to advance bills that would make the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) permanent, increase federal resources for programs that engage young people and veterans in conservation careers, and address the more than $12 billion deferred maintenance backlog at America’s National Parks.
“Hawai‘i’s native ecosystems have benefitted from LWCF investments for decades,” Sen. Hirono said. “Advancing permanent LWCF legislation and other key public lands bills will ensure that Hawai‘i’s environment is protected for future generations and will strengthen the pipeline of future conservationists.”
Sen. Hirono is an original cosponsor of the Land and Water Conservation Authorization and Funding Act, which makes the LWCF permanent and ensures full funding. Over the past 50 years, the LWCF has provided nearly $250 million to protect and conserve lands in Hawai‘i. Sen. Hirono has been a longtime champion of the LWCF, most recently supporting Hawai‘i’s “Island Forests at Risk” proposal, which from Fiscal Year 2016 through 2018, received $22 million in funding to expand the Hakalau National Wildlife Refuge, $12 million to expand Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, and $6 million for Haleakala National Park.
Sen. Hirono is also a cosponsor of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps Act, which passed by voice vote. The 21st Century Conservation Service Corps Act provides important federal resources to help train young people and veterans on environmental stewardship, which would strengthen groups in Hawai‘i, such as Kupu, that train the next generation of conservationists.
Finally, Sen. Hirono voted in favor of advancing the Restore Our Parks Act, which addresses the deferred maintenance backlog within the National Park Service. As of Fiscal Year 2017, there was an over $238 million backlog in infrastructure needs in Hawai‘i’s National Parks.