July 23, 2020

Hirono-Backed Barbers Point Provision Included in Senate-Passed NDAA

Provision encourages Navy to use in-kind funds to invest in new electrical infrastructure

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) announced that she secured a provision in the Senate-passed Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that will support community development of former Naval Air Station (NAS) Barbers Point by directing the Navy to spend funds from the established Ford Island master development agreement to bolster electrical infrastructure.

“The committee strongly encourages the Navy to use its in-kind fund, established in the Ford Island master development agreement, to invest in new electrical infrastructure to hasten the development efforts at the former NAS Barbers Point,” states the Senate Report accompanying the bill. 

Since NAS Barbers Point was closed in 1999 as part of the Department of Defense’s Base Realignment and Closure process, the community has faced significant barriers to development due to its unreliable infrastructure, including an outdated electric grid still owned and operated by the Navy. The 3,695 acre former NAS Barbers Point has experienced numerous power outages causing significant business disruption, including a 2019 power interruption that lasted nine days. The Navy has not made any investments in the electric grid except for the purposes of repairs in the 20 years since NAS Barbers Point closed.

“Economic development at Kalaeloa has been hampered because of an old and unreliable electric grid system. The need to modernize this inadequate grid is clear—the community and businesses have suffered for over two decades as a result of inaction. Working with community partners and the Navy, we have found a solution to one of the critical needs of the Kalaeloa community,” Senator Hirono said.

The NDAA now heads to a conference committee to resolve differences between the House and Senate versions. This version will then be considered by both chambers for final passage, before going to the President.