March 11, 2020

Hirono Secures Commitment from Interior Secretary for Regular Updates on Rebuilding Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) secured a commitment from Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt to provide six-month updates on the progress of rebuilding the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) on Hawaii Island during an Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing.

From Senator Hirono’s Exchange with Secretary Bernhardt:

Senator Hirono: “I’d like to get a commitment that the Department or USGS will provide me with 6-month updates on the progress in rebuilding the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.”

Secretary Bernhardt: “I think that we can certainly manage that, Senator.”

Following the structural damage caused by the Kilauea eruption, Senator Hirono has been a consistent champion of efforts to ensure the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory gets rebuilt on Hawaii Island. Last March, Senator Hirono pressed then-Acting Secretary Bernhardt for a commitment to rebuild HVO on Hawaii Island. Two months later, Senator Hirono secured $72.3 million in the 2019 Disaster Supplemental Bill to fund both the continuation of USGS operations in a temporary space as well as money to construct the new HVO facility. That same month she announced that USGS Director Jim Reilly committed to rebuilding HVO on Hawaii Island. Senator Hirono also secured $21 million in additional funding to build a separate HVO field station in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.