FUNDING SECURED FOR IAO FLOOD CONTROL IMPROVEMENTS

July 17, 2009, 7:27 PM HST · Updated July 17, 7:27 PM
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Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono voted in support of a federal appropriations act that helped to secure $3,065,000 in funding for Hawaii.

'Iao Valley Stream. Photo by Wendy Osher.

'Iao Valley Stream. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Maui’s ‘Iao Flood Control Project is one of six projects included in the request, which passed with a favorable 307-97 vote in the House.  The $250,000 ‘Iao allocation is expected to provide better protection for adjacent commercial and residential properties in the area.

The FY210 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act also includes $300,000 in funding to initiate the study of possible improvements to the South Maui Watershed.  The study would be aimed at reducing flood damage and protecting ocean water quality.

The South Maui Watershed includes the south slope of Haleakala, consisting of Kula and Ulupalakua, as well as the Kihei-Wailea-Makena area.   It also includes residential, commercial, industrial, and resort properties, as well as farms, ranches, and natural areas.

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Other Hawaii projects slated for funding under the Act are as follows:

  • $1,000,000 to demonstrate the feasibility of commercial bioenergy production at the University of Hawai’i. The project will be conducted by the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources and the Hawai’i Natural Energy Institute.
  • $705,000 for the Army Corps of Engineers to inspect all flood damage reduction and coastal damage reduction projects in the State of Hawai’i on an annual basis. These inspections are needed to protect against structural failure, which could result in damage to property or loss of life.
  • $570,000 to support management of the state-wide harbor dredging program, hydrographic condition surveys of our harbors, and inspection of 25 navigation projects throughout Hawai’i with federal breakwater structures.
  • $240,000 to provide funding for a photovoltaic system at the Hawai’i State Chapter Headquarters of the American Red Cross. The system will serve as a critical backup energy source in the event of a disaster.

“The main thrust behind all of these projects is ensuring the safety of Hawai’i’s people, whether by establishing an emergency power source for the American Red Cross or determining how to best control floods and protect coastal areas.” said Congresswoman Hirono.

“Three weeks ago, I visited Haleiwa harbor and received a briefing from the harbormaster along with the Army Corps of Engineers on the work that’s being done to keep our boat entrances clear from growing underwater obstacles.  That meeting reconfirmed my belief that, as an island state, we need to remain diligent in monitoring and maintaining our waterways,” Hirono said.

In addition to funding for these projects, the energy and water bill provides $5.5 billion nationally for the Army Corps of Engineers to address water resource investment needs and $2.25 billion to increase investments in technologies that use energy more effectively and produce clean, inexpensive energy from domestic sources.

A few highlights of the bill include:   $259 million for research, development, and demonstration projects to make solar energy more affordable; $235 million for grants to improve production of alternative fuels such as cellulosic ethanol and biodiesel; and $220 million in weatherization grants to help struggling families save money and energy by improving the energy efficiency of their homes.

(Posted by Wendy Osher)

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