Categorized | Environment

Abercrombie testifies at invasive species hearing

MEDIA RELEASE

Gov. Neil Abercrombie testified Thursday before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia in support of efforts to strengthen prevention initiatives, including agricultural import and entry inspection functions aimed at detecting and intercepting invasive species at Hawaii’s ports of entry.

The field hearing was led by Committee Chairman, U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka.

“It is critically important that the federal government support an appropriate level of inspection to keep invasive species out of Hawaii,” Abercrombie said. “Currently the lack of an expansive and coordinated inspection process for our ports allows hundreds of invasive species to enter our islands’ ecosystems each year.”

An example of specific concern to the state is the lack of resources to give the Hawaii the full protection from the brown tree snake from Guam. The state does not have the resources to deploy inspectors to Guam or to do inspections of cargo and aircraft in Hawaii.

Currently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture only inspects luggage and cargo leaving the State of Hawaii but not anything incoming which leaves us open to critical dangers of invasive species.

When asked by Akaka what the Abercrombie Administration’s top three recommendations for how the Federal Government can assist the state, Abercrombie replied, “Federal support is needed to provide appropriate levels of inspection in areas where it lacks now; secondly, we need fiscal support to help us provide funding to our state Department of Agriculture that oversees these inspections; and we need an action plan to enable and ensure that the funding provided is well-utilized.”

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