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Hirono Announces $20 Million to Strengthen Climate Resilience for Native Hawaiian Community

~ New Kapapahuliau Climate Resilience Program will help enhance climate change mitigation efforts for Native Hawaiian community ~

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, announced the availability of $20 million in funding to help strengthen climate resilience in the Native Hawaiian community. The funding will support the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Native Hawaiian Relations’ (ONHR) new Kapapahuliau Climate Resilience Program, which will provide Native Hawaiian organizations with resources to navigate the effects of climate change.

“Compared to the rest of the country, Hawaii is unique in many ways—our food, our communities, our local culture—and the climate challenges we face are no exception,” said Senator Hirono. “Sea level rise, higher land and ocean temperatures, and invasive species all present serious challenges to our islands. By making $20 million available specifically for Native Hawaiian Organizations, this new program reflects the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to supporting indigenous communities’ needs, values, and priorities. Environmental stewardship is an important part of Native Hawaiian culture, so I’m glad that this funding will be available to support the community’s efforts to combat the effects of climate change and strengthen climate resilience.”

The funding is provided through the Inflation Reduction Act, which Senator Hirono helped pass into law in 2022. The funding follows the Biden-Harris Administration’s release of the Fifth National Climate Assessment, a congressionally mandated report assessing the science of climate change in the United States, its impacts, and options for reducing present and future risk, including specific impacts on Hawaii and U.S.-Affiliated Pacific Islands.

ONHR will be hosting two 120-minute virtual pre-proposal informational sessions on November 29 and December 13, 2023 at 2:00 pm HT to provide an overview of the Kapapahuliau Program and address questions for interested applicants. The deadline to apply for funding is Thursday, February 29, 2024.

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. Last month, Senator Hirono announced $2 million in federal support for three projects working to advance environmental justice across Hawaii. She also 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 towards enabling high penetration renewables with Synchronous Condenser Conversion Technology and $16.3 million towards solar grid forming technology. In September, 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.