LEGISLATURE SHOOTS DOWN AEROSPACE OFFICE AFTER HAWAII SIGNS AGREEMENT WITH NASA
News Release from Rep Gene Ward (R-Hawaii Kai – Kalama Valley)
Honolulu - Representative Gene Ward (R-Hawaii Kai – Kalama Valley) expressed his disappointment in the decision taken by the State Budget Conference Committee last night after it cut funding to the Hawaii State Office of Aerospace Development (OAD). He has written letters to Senator Kim and Representative Oshiro, chairs of the Senate and House budget committees, urging them to rescind their actions.
The Office of Aerospace Development was created by the Legislature in 2007 for the purpose of identifying and promoting opportunities to expand and diversify aerospace-related industries in Hawaii. One of those opportunities was collaborating with NASA.
Just last week, Hawaii signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA, which initially focuses on the development of a 150-pound satellite "the size of a bread box" that will take infrared images of coral reefs and other features of the planet. The project promises to bring millions of dollars to Hawaii and put our state in the lead as a home base for space settlements and small satellite research. Hawaii's signing of the Space Act Agreement with NASA was the first of its kind in the nation.
Cutting funding for the Office of Aerospace, however, could jeopardize the entire project. In addition to millions of dollars of potential revenue lost, the cuts are seen as an embarrassment in the eyes of the federal government. Although Hawaii has historically promoted the aerospace industry in the Islands, the recent budget cuts are sending a different message.
"I don't understand why we're celebrating this historic agreement by cutting funding for the Office of Aerospace" Ward said, "It just doesn't make any sense."
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