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Updates from Sen. Hirono ( June 3-10)

MEDIA RELEASE

HIRONO STATEMENT ON HAWAII VA WAIT TIMES

Sen. Mazie K. Hirono, a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs and Armed Services Committees, released the following statement on data revealed showing Honolulu’s Spark M. Matsunaga VA Medical Center has the longest average wait time – 145 days – in the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) system when it comes to new patient primary care appointments.

This information came to light as part of a Veterans Health Administration (VHA) audit of the VA.

“These long wait times for new patients at Honolulu’s Spark M. Matsunaga VA Medical Center are extremely troubling. The medical center faces challenges involving neighbor island transportation and access, but these should not be excuses. Prior to this data release, my office reached out to the VA Inspector General’s Office asking for an impartial review and verification of wait time data for Hawaii-based VA medical clinics and centers. The audit released by VA today makes clear that we need to get to bottom of what is going on in the VA system in order to take appropriate action. I will also introduce bipartisan legislation this week to provide immediate relief for waiting veterans who require emergency procedures.”

For Hirono’s full letter, visit: www.hirono.senate.gov/download…

HIRONO CONGRATULATES LASSNER

Hirono issued the following statement congratulating David Lassner on his appointment by the University of Hawaii (UH) Board of Regents to be the 15th president of the UH system.

“I have no doubt David’s experience and relationships will serve him well as President of the University of Hawaii. While he was interim President, we worked together on important issues such as college affordability, DREAMers and veterans. I appreciated his leadership then and look forward to continuing our work together to ensure that a college education is accessible to everyone in Hawaii.”

HIRONO APPLAUDS EPA RULE

Hirono applauded the new proposal by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to cut carbon-dioxide emissions from U.S. power plants by 30 percent by 2030.

“Today’s announcement by the EPA is a significant, historic development in the global fight against climate change,” said Hirono. “It sends a firm signal to the world that the United States is serious about addressing the growing environmental threat to our people and our livelihoods. As our nation’s only island state, Hawaii is already feeling the impact, with sea levels rising at a rate of 0.6 inches per decade and expected to surpass three feet by the end of the century. The rise of sea levels, ocean temperatures and ocean acidity directly threaten our state’s economy and families, prompting Hawaii to lead the way with laws limiting greenhouse gas emissions and promoting clean energy and energy efficiency. The impacts of climate change also can strain our domestic energy resources and increase instability in other parts of the world, posing a serious threat to our national security. I have fought to protect the investments in renewable energy research by the U.S. military – the nation’s largest single energy consumer that faces unique energy challenges operating in the vast Asia-Pacific region – and will continue to do so moving forward.”

Hirono has long supported measures to help mitigate climate change and increase job-creating investments in renewable energy. Hirono’s work includes voting for comprehensive climate and renewable energy legislation in the House, promoting a strong federal renewable fuel standard and making her first appearance on the Senate floor to fight a Republican measure that would strip funding for certain Department of Defense (DOD) alternative energy initiatives.

The EPA is proposing that Hawaii develop a plan to lower its carbon pollution by 2030. Hawaii will choose how to meet the goal through whatever combination of measures reflects its particular circumstances and policy objectives.

The state already has programs in place that could be part of its plan to reduce carbon pollution, including:

* Energy efficiency standards or goals

* Demand-side energy efficiency programs that advance energy efficiency improvements for electricity use

* Energy efficiency codes (meeting 2006 International Energy Conservation Code for residential buildings)

* Energy efficiency codes (meeting ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2004 for commercial buildings)

* Renewable energy portfolio standards or goals

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