Features

“Champion of the environment”
Image: courtesy mazie for senate campaign

Mazie Hirono

Congresswoman Hirono entered politics in 1980 as a state Representative and served two terms as Lieutenant Governor. She has been endorsed by the Sierra Club and League of Conservation Voters. The Weekly spoke with her by phone..


How will you address climate change and sea level rise?

We need to take action to reduce greenhouse emissions, and the U.S needs to be a leader in this. Despite obstruction in Congress by those who deny [global climate] change, President Obama’s initiatives, including requiring stronger energy efficiencies in automobiles and the military, have been adopted, and I supported all them. We need much more support for the research and development of truly renewable energy. We can do this by redirecting the $4 billion every year that is needlessly going to subsidize big oil companies. By the way, Republican Linda Lingle is getting a lot of support from the [billionaire] Koch brothers, who represent the personification of “drill baby drill.”

The Navy is preparing an EIS to expand training in Hawaii, including more sonar and live-fire exercises. How will you ensure the Department of Defensebehaves?

It’s very important for people to have the opportunity to weigh in and share their concerns during this EIS. The military also needs to mitigate adverse impacts from its activities, and I will continue to press for environmental sensitivity from them. The military is now tasked with reducing its reliance on fossil fuels and improving its energy efficiency, and the State of Hawaii can benefit from a collaboration. Their research and initiatives in this area, as well as technology transfer, will be very useful to us.

Why did you join Republicans in approving the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), with its indefinite detention provision that has now been enjoined by a federal court?

[NDAAs]are routine measures that pay for military operations, equipment, training, payroll and health care. [The] Republican leadership attach[es] very troubling elements to these must-pass bills. I expressed my concerns on the record about the detention provision, and I cosponsored an amendment to the 2013 Act that would repeal it. [The House rejected her amendment.]