Skip to content

Hirono Announces $2 Million for Environmental Justice Projects in Hawaii

~ Hawaii projects announced as part of nationwide investments through EPA’s Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem Solving Cooperative Agreement program ~

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources (ENR) Committee, announced $2 million in federal support for three projects working to advance environmental justice across Hawaii. The projects will ensure that disadvantaged communities, who have historically suffered from underinvestment, have access to clean air and water and climate resilience solutions. The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA) will receive $500,000; Kaunalewa will receive $500,000; and the City and County of Honolulu will receive $1 million.

“People deserve fair access to a clean and healthy environment and to be protected from environmental hazards, so this funding will invest in communities disproportionately affected by environmental burdens,” said Senator Hirono. “I am proud to have helped pass the Inflation Reduction Act last year—historic legislation which made this funding possible—and I will continue working to ensure historically marginalized communities have access to the resources they need to live healthier, more sustainable lives.”

The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement will utilize the funds for its Solarize808 project, an initiative that will provide at least 100 households with energy efficiency education. Kaunalewa—a nonprofit organization on Kauai—will utilize the funds for improvements in water quality awareness, testing, enforcement, and management. The City and County of Honolulu will use the funding for the Oahu Climate Champions program, which will pair community-based organizations with local climate champions to implement adaptation projects.

The organizations were selected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through its Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem Solving Cooperative Agreement and Environmental Justice Government-to-Government programs. This funding was made possible by the Biden-Harris Administration’s Inflation Reduction Act—the largest climate investment in U.S. history—which Senator Hirono helped to pass last year.

As a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources (ENR) Committee, Senator Hirono has championed legislation to protect Hawaii’s environment, fish, wildlife, and plants, while also working to support local farmers and agriculture, and speed the transition to clean, renewable energy in Hawaii and across the country. Earlier this month, Senator Hirono applauded the news that the Department of Energy was awarding a combined $17.9 million in grants to the Hawaii Department of Business Economic Development and Tourism. $1.7 million would go toward enabling high penetration renewables with Synchronous Condenser Conversion Technology and $16.3 million would go toward solar grid forming technology. In September 2023, Senator Hirono introduced the AuGmenting Research and Educational Sites to Ensure Agriculture Remains Cutting-edge and Helpful (AG RESEARCH) Act, legislation to provide billions in funding to address deferred maintenance at U.S. schools of agriculture, including the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (UH CTAHR), and USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) facilities. In July 2023, Senator Hirono joined her colleagues in urging the Department of Justice (DOJ) to launch an investigation into Shell, ExxonMobil, and potentially other fossil fuel companies to determine whether their coordinated campaigns of climate change deception violated federal law.