GOV. IGE’S REQUEST FOR PRESIDENTIAL DISASTER DECLARATION FOR HAWAII ISLAND — APPROVED
News Release from Office of the Governor, May 11, 2018
HONOLULU – Gov. David Ige’s request for a Presidential Disaster Declaration for Hawai‘i Island was granted, one day after the governor submitted the request.
The disaster declaration means that federal assistance will be available for public facilities such as roads, public parks, schools and waterpipes damaged or destroyed by the Kilauea volcanic eruption and earthquakes. It also covers costs for emergency protection measures including personnel for security and roadblocks, geologists and the military.
The governor’s request for assistance by the Hazard Mitigation Grant program was also approved for the State of Hawai‘i. This program provides assistance to all Hawai‘i counties to prevent or reduce long-term risks to life and property caused by natural hazards.
“I’m grateful for the quick approval of my request for a Presidential Disaster Declaration. This opens the door to federal assistance and demonstrates a solid partnership with the federal government as we work to keep Hawai‘i residents safe and support recovery efforts on Hawai‘i Island,” said Gov. David Ige.
As the volcanic eruption enters its second week – assessments continue and additional requests will be made when federal requirements are met.
Today’s Presidential Disaster Declaration for Hawai‘i Island follows the Presidential Disaster Declaration for flood-damaged Kaua‘i and the City and County of Honolulu, which was granted on May 8.
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GOVERNOR IGE ISSUES PRESIDENTIAL DISASTER DECLARATION REQUEST FOR HAWAII ISLAND IN WAKE OF KILAUEA ERUPTIONS
News Release from Office of the Governor, May 9, 2018
PDF: Presidential Disaster Declaration Request
HONOLULU – Gov. David Ige signed a Presidential Disaster Declaration request, asking the President of the United States to declare the State of Hawai‘i a major disaster as a result of the ongoing seismic activity and volcanic eruption on Hawai‘i Island.
The governor is asking that the declaration authorize the Public Assistance Grant Program for Hawai‘i County, as well as the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program statewide.
Since May 3, Hawai‘i County and the State of Hawai‘i have dedicated more than $400,000 in emergency protective measures for the lava flow and earthquakes in the Kilauea East Rift Zone. The estimated cost to protect residents over the next 30 days is expected to exceed $2.9 million. These costs do not include permanent work or damages incurred from the earthquakes, and costs will skyrocket should large-scale air and sea evacuations become necessary.
Hawai‘i County proclaimed a state of emergency on May 3. Gov. Ige then took the appropriate action under state law and issued an emergency proclamation for Hawai‘i County effective May 3, authorizing the expenditure of state funds as appropriate to provide for the quick and efficient relief of damages, losses and suffering that have resulted from the volcanic eruption and seismic activity. The governor also directed the execution of the State of Hawai‘i Emergency Operations plan.
“As more fissures open and toxic gas exposure increases, the potential of a larger scale evacuation increases. A mass evacuation of the lower Puna District would be beyond current county and state capabilities, and would quickly overwhelm our collective resources,” said Gov. Ige. “Federal assistance would be necessary to enable us to successfully conduct such large-scale operations.”
A copy of the signed Presidential Disaster Declaration request is attached.
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GOVERNOR IGE TAKES STEPS TO MITIGATE RISKS TO PUNA GEOTHERMAL VENTURE POSED BY KILAUEA ERUPTIONS
News Release from Office of the Governor, May 9, 2018
PDF: Supplemental Emergency Proclamation for 2018 Kilauea Eruption
HONOLULU – Gov. David Ige has issued a supplemental emergency proclamation for the 2018 Kilauea eruption that, among other emergency management functions, establishes lines of authority that will enable a more comprehensive response to changing and unpredictable risks posed by the current eruption. Those risks include possible impacts to Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV), which is located on Kilauea’s Lower East Rift Zone.
The governor is exercising his authority, as provided by Hawaii Revised Statutes 127A-12(13), and has directed the Director of Emergency Management, the Administrator of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, Mayor Harry Kim, and the administrator of the Hawaii Civil Defense Agency, to lead a team to develop and implement mitigation steps as necessary to protect public health and safety. In addition to county responders, the team will include federal and state agencies, as well as PGV.
In announcing his plans, Gov. Ige said, “I am placing a tremendous degree of responsibility on two nationally and internationally renowned emergency and mission managers. Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA) Administrator and retired U.S. Navy Captain Thomas Travis, and County of Hawai‘i Mayor Harry Kim, are proven leaders who care deeply for the public and have the capacity to plan, mobilize and get the job done in a quick and efficient manner.”
Given the current situation, the governor determined that a team approach will ensure the most responsive and effective outcomes. Therefore, he has directed Administrator Travis to work directly with Mayor Kim and the County of Hawai‘i’s Civil Defense Director Talmadge Magno. Other key agencies include the Hawai‘i National Guard, the state Departments of Health, and Land and Natural Resources, as well as the County of Hawai‘i’s Departments of Planning, Fire, Police and Parks and Recreation. Puna Geothermal Venture will be incorporated into the team to provide critical knowledge of the facility and operational functions.
The team will review and assess the existing PGV Emergency Response Plan and develop a specific mission strategy deemed appropriate to mitigate potential impacts from lava. Expected steps include addressing the supplies of pentane gas used in the production of geothermal power including options for off-site relocation or controlled leakage or burn. Contingency plans will be made to secure and evacuate area residents should lava intrusions cause elevated levels of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) or sulfur dioxide (SO2) to be released.
“State and county teams will work closely to marshal the necessary resources to fully engage and ensure a successful effort to secure PGV’s facilities and protect public health, safety and the environment,” said Gov. Ige.
Gov. Ige and his team have spent several days in the field viewing and assessing the current eruption and conducting briefings and meetings with Mayor Kim, state and federal resources and community members to fully assess the ongoing activities and impacts in the Kilauea Lower East Rift zone.