Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Leads Effort to Fund Programs Benefiting Native Hawaiian Homesteads, Preserving Native Species & Wildlife

July 24, 2020
Press Release
Washington, DCRep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) announced funding for key programs benefiting the nation and Hawai‘i through the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies funding bill for fiscal year 2021. These provisions were included as part of a combined appropriations bill that was passed by the House of Representatives today.
“Hawai‘i is home to some of the world’s most beautiful flora and fauna, but due to human impact and invasive species, many species vital to our ecosystem face the threat of extinction. Aloha `aina are the values instilled in me at a young age, as my parents taught me about the precious and unique natural ecosystems of Hawai‘i,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “That is why I fought to support programs like the State of the Birds — credited with reviving several endangered Hawai‘i bird populations — as well as the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund  and the Regional Biosecurity Program for Micronesia and Hawai‘i. I worked with my colleagues to ensure that they get the resources needed to preserve and protect our beautiful but fragile ecosystem that is vital to the well-being of our home.”
The bill includes funding for programs within the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, and other related agencies. For FY 2021, the bill includes $36.76 billion in regular appropriations, an increase of $771 million above the FY 2020 enacted level, and $5.11 billion over the President’s 2021 request. Additionally, the bill includes $15 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations for investments in critical infrastructure. 
Rep. Gabbard has led the effort to prioritize support for a number of programs that benefit Hawai‘i. Some of those priorities were accepted by the Committee, which includes: 
  • Directing the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to continue executing the survey requirements of the Hawaiian Home Lands Recover Act and further, directing that the BLM shall consult with Homestead Beneficiary Associations. 
  • Directing the Interior Department to provide an updated report describing the activities taken by the Department to implement the Regional Biosecurity Plan (RBP) for Micronesia and Hawai‘i, including next steps and planned activities of the Department for further implementation of the plan, including estimates of additional funding to be used or needed for the planned activities. Since 2016, Rep. Gabbard has led the effort to ensure full implementation of the RBP, a multi-agency blueprint designed to prevent the introduction of invasive species in Hawai‘i and the U.S. Pacific Territories.
  • Protecting our native species, particularly the endangered native bird population with $3.5 million for the Brown Tree Snake Control and Eradication Act of 2004. This important initiative has kept the brown tree snake out of Hawai‘i.
  • Advocating for the US Geological Survey’s Volcano Hazards Program and the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) to monitor volcano seismic activities. HVO has played a vital role in monitoring and providing data on the long-running Kilauea eruption.
  • Supporting critical Wildlife Refuges across the nation and in Hawai‘i resulting in $510.9 million for the National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS). Hawai‘i and the Pacific region is home to twenty National Wildlife Refuges.
  • Advocating for and securing $3.5 million for the State of the Birds, a program credited with reviving Hawai‘i bird populations including the endangered Palila, ‘Akikiki, ‘I‘iwi, and Kiwikiu. 
Other programs supported by Rep. Gabbard directly benefiting Hawai‘i include:
  • Japanese Confinement Site Grants at $3.15 million, preserving the story of WWII internment camps like Honouliuli Internment Camp and Sand Island Detention Camp on O‘ahu.
  • Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund (CESCF) at $23.7 million, which assists local conservation efforts through four grant programs: Conservation; Habitat Conservation Planning Assistance; Habitat Conservation Plan Land Acquisition; and Recovery Land Acquisition. CESCF has funded local projects to protect the Hawaiian hoary bat, Hawaiian petrel, and other endangered birds, as well as for acquisition of conservation land to minimize sedimentation of coastal ecosystems and coral reefs.
  • Clean Water State Revolving Fund at $1.64 billion, helping Hawai‘i comply with EPA clean water standards and safely transition more than 90 thousand cesspools to septic tanks by 2050.
  • Drinking Water State Revolving Fund at $1.1 billion, allowing funds to finance green infrastructure or energy efficiency projects.
  • National Estuary Program (NEP) at $51.1 million.
Background: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has been a vocal advocate for the environment and public lands throughout her time in Congress, earning an A rating from the Outdoors Industry Association in 2018 and a 100% rating from the National Parks Action Fund in the 116th Congress. In 2019 she voted to support a public lands package that promotes conservation, outdoor recreation, historic preservation, and cultural resource protection in Hawai‘i and across the country.
About Rep. Tulsi Gabbard: Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is serving her fourth term in the United States House representing Hawai‘i’s Second District, and serves on the House Armed Services and Financial Services Committees. She previously served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Homeland Security Committee. She was elected to the Honolulu City Council in 2010, and prior to that at age 21, was elected to the Hawaiʻi State Legislature in 2002, becoming the youngest person ever elected in the state. Tulsi Gabbard has served in the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard for over 17 years, is a veteran of two Middle East deployments, and continues to serve as a Major. Learn more about Rep. Tulsi Gabbard...
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