Governor Neil Abercrombie today testified 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 Hawai'i's ports of entry.
The field hearing in Honolulu was led by Committee Chairman, U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka.
"It is critically important that the federal government support an appropriate level of inspection to keep invasive species out of Hawai'i," stated Governor Abercrombie. "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 Hawai'i 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 Hawai'i. Currently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture only inspects luggage and cargo leaving the State of Hawai'i but not anything incoming which leaves us open to critical dangers of invasive species.
When asked by Senator Akaka what the Abercrombie Administration's top three recommendations for how the Federal Government can assist the state, Governor 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."