(BIVN) – The nominee for the U.S. Department of the Interior was put on the spot Thursday about an alleged idea to relocate the scientists who monitor Hawaiʻi volcanoes off the Big Island.
After the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory facility located at the summit of Kilauea was damaged during the eruptive events of 2018, there have been discussions of building a new HVO facility on Oʻahu, according to U.S. Senator from Hawaiʻi, Mazie Hirono.
Sen. Hirono pressed Interior Secretary Nominee David Bernhardt about the possible decision during a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing in Washington.
“The USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory was completely destroyed as you know during the eruption. We obviously need to rebuild the facility and there are discussions of building it outside of the island on which actually there are active volcanoes,” Sen. Hirono told Bernhardt during the hearing. “That doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense.”
“I would want to have your commitment that you will listen to the Congressional delegation as well as local stakeholders to put this observatory where the eruptions will likely occur,” Hirono told the nominee.
“I have to say, I will absolutely look into that,” Bernhardt replied.
“Let’s do things that make actual common sense,” Hirono commented befre moving on to other topics.
The U.S. Department of the Interior oversees both the USGS and the National Park Service, which manages Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park.