(BIVN) – During a U.S. Senate Committee On Armed Services hearing on Wednesday, defense officials provided an update on unexploded ordnance removal efforts on Hawaiʻi island.
Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Chair of the Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support, conducted the hearing held to receive testimony on military construction, energy, installations, environmental, and base closure programs as part of the review of the Defense Authorization Request for Fiscal Year 2024 and the Future Years Defense Program.
When Hirono inquired about the UXO at the Waikoloa Maneuver Area, the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy, and Environment – Rachel Jacobson – had this news to share:
Literally, on Tuesday, April 11th, General Spellmon – who’s the Chief Engineer for Army Corps of Engineers – sent me a note with good news: that the Pacific Ocean Division of the Army Corps has completed the remedial investigation for the critical area there at Waikoloa, with 11,000 acres where these are intended to be returned as Hawaiian homelands. The completion of that has been submitted to the Hawaiʻi Department of Health for approval and for comment.
I believe on the initial comments, there’s been some interaction back and forth with the Hawaiʻi Department of Health. Now that the formal remedial investigation and responses have been submitted, the state has 30 days, we hope, to issue no a further action. Which will then enable HUD to allow the area to be eligible for mortgages, so it can finally be used by the people of Hawaiʻi. So I do have some good news on that front. I know it’s been a long haul.