Maui News

House resolutions establish working groups for Red Hill impacts and DHHL funds

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House Speaker Scott K. Saiki today announced that the Hawaiʻi House of Representatives will form working groups to discuss critical issues pertaining to Red Hill, and the Department of Hawaiian Homelands’ execution of $600 million to address the needs of Native Hawaiians on the Department’s waitlist.

“The House takes seriously its oversight responsibility for the defueling and decommissioning of Red Hill, and wants to work with the Administration to ensure the $600 million appropriated to reduce the waitlist is maximized to assist the most number of beneficiaries,” said Speaker Scott K. Saiki.

The House passed H.R. No. 10, establishing a legislative working group to oversee the DHHL’s execution of funds appropriated pursuant to Act 279, Session Laws of Hawaiʻi 2022, to address the beneficiary waiting list.

“We look forward to working closely with DHHL in providing oversight of the $600 million appropriated by the Legislature. This is a rare opportunity to make major investments in Native Hawaiian housing, and it is critical that funds are expeditiously and responsibly expended,” said House Committee on Housing Chair Troy Hashimoto. “This has the potential, if successful, to jumpstart and allow us to make major strides in the reduction of the long-standing waitlist.”

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The DHHL working group, established by H.R. 10, will consist of six members including Representative Troy N. Hashimoto (Chair) of Maui, Representative David A. Tarnas, Representative Daniel Holt, Representative Scott Y. Nishimoto, Representative Mahina Poepoe of Maui, and Representative Gene Ward.

The House also passed H.R. No. 9, establishing the House Special Committee on Red Hill to address issues related to the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility, water contamination and remediation, and all related impacts.

“The Special Committee on Red Hill will continue to work closely with state agencies and community stakeholders to hold the Navy accountable for closing down Red Hill and remediation of our natural resources,” said House Committee on Water & Land Chair Linda Ichiyama.

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The Committee will consist of seven House members including Representative Linda Ichiyama (Co-Chair), Representative Nicole E. Lowen (Co-Chair), Representative Micah P.K. Aiu, Representative Della Au Belatti, Representative Sonny Ganaden, Representative Mark J. Hashem, and Representative Kanani Souza. The working group will conduct informational briefings and report its findings on a regular basis.

The DHHL working group is to submit a report of its findings and recommendations to the House of Representatives no later than twenty days prior to the commencement of the Regular Session of 2024. The prepared report will include an analysis of topics including the leveraging or maximization of the appropriated funds, alternative financing options for beneficiaries and developers, and alternative housing development options aside from homestead lot development.

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