comscore Mazie Hirono secures $21M in federal funding for Hawaiian Volcano Observatory | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Mazie Hirono secures $21M in federal funding for Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

  • COURTESY PHOTO
                                U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono and Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientist-in-charge Tina Neal at the Emergency Operations Center in Hilo in May 2018.

    COURTESY PHOTO

    U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono and Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientist-in-charge Tina Neal at the Emergency Operations Center in Hilo in May 2018.

The U.S. Geological Survey will potentially receive $21 million in federal funding to build a new field station for the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, according to U.S. Sen. Mazie K. Hirono.

Hirono, who advocated for keeping HVO on Hawaii island, said the $21 million is included in the year-end spending package making its way through Congress.

“Scientists at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory are at the front lines of monitoring, responding to, and protecting us from volcanic activity,” said Hirono in a news release. “Our state saw this first hand last year as HVO scientists worked around the clock to provide constant information about the Kilauea eruption. This significant federal investment will support ongoing HVO monitoring at Kilauea and Mauna Loa, and I will continue to advocate for federal resources to support their crucial mission.”

The new field station would be instrumental to allowing HVO to monitor changes and trends at Kilauea and Mauna Loa, both of which are classified as very-high-threat volcanoes under the National Volcano Early Warning System, Hirono said.

It is a separate project from the rebuilding of HVO headquarters, which is part of $72.3 million in funding secured from a disaster supplemental bill in May.

The HVO headquarters were damaged beyond repair, and had to be closed down during the 2018 Kilauea eruption, displacing USGS scientists who nevertheless continued to monitor Hawaii’s volcanoes from various temporary locations.

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