Associated Press: $470M slated for isles in defense authorization bill

May 3, 2015
In The News

Hawaii could get an influx of $469.7 million for military construction and infrastructure investment as part of the National Defense Authorization Act.

The bill was passed by the House Armed Services Committee on Thursday.

For Hawaii, the bill includes funding for improvements at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam and Marine Corps Base Hawaii. It also includes a plan to make improvements at the Red Hill Underground Fuel Storage Facility, which leaked an estimated 27,000 gallons of fuel last year.

The bill also requires the president to provide an overall strategy for U.S. interests in the region, and states that an Indo-Asia-Pacific strategy must be included as a separate part of the executive budget.

"There's so much happening in the Asia-Pacific region," said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii.

"As we understand and recognize that there are other hot spots occurring around the world, we want to make sure that . . . we don't lose focus on what must continue to occur in the Asia-Pacific region," Gabbard said.

The bill also requires the secretary of defense to report on a program to eradicate the coconut rhinoceros beetle, an invasive species that can cause millions of dollars in property damage. The beetle was introduced to Hawaii through military shipments from Guam.

The overall defense spending bill now heads to the full House for a vote.

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