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So I wrote a little bit about the Pacific Islands Parks Act introduced by Senator Brian Schatz (D. HI) a little while back:

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz introduced a bill Wednesday that seeks to expand Hawaii’s national parks while preserving the state’s special places and bringing in more tourism dollars.

Hawaii has seven national parks, but Schatz wants to add more. The Democratic senator held a conference call Wednesday joined by several conservation organizations in which he said Hawaii wants to identify those places that are biologically and historically significant, or just “extraordinarily beautiful.”

The Pacific Islands Parks Act of 2013, the first bill to be introduced by the senator sworn in last December as the late Democratic Sen. Daniel Inouye’s successor, would direct the National Park Service to complete studies of three designated sites in Hawaii. The bill also would allow for studies on Midway Atoll, the Northern Mariana Islands and Palau.

Schatz said Hawaii has great resources in its unique mountains, forests, volcanoes, trails and wildlife. - Washington Post, 3/21/13

Well the bill has been getting some movement in the Senate:

The Pacific Islands Parks Act was given an important hearing at a key Senate committee today.

The Act went before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee today. Senator Schatz is a member of the committee and serves as the chair of the Water and Power Subcommittee. The freshman U.S. Senator has framed the act as opportunity to increase tourism in Hawaii. The Aloha State is currently the home of seven national parks, which were responsible for over $259 million in revenue for the state in 2011.

“The Pacific Island Parks Act is making good progress in the United States Senate. This bill would improve our local economy, preserve our parks, and increase tourism in Hawai‘i,” said Senator Brian Schatz in a media release. “Hawai‘i is home to some of the most incredible and unique sites, many of which have been designated as national parks. By passing this legislation, we would be opening the door to protecting additional sites, while also contributing to tourism and economic growth. I will continue to work with my colleagues, including Chairman Ron Wyden, to make this bill a reality.”

The Pacific Island Parks Act was backed by the Department of the Interior during the hearing. The Ka’u resource study was given support in a statement delivered by Stephanie Toothman, associate director of Cultural Resources, Partnerships, and Science at the National Park Service. - Big Island Video News, 7/31/13

More below the fold.

Schatz had another big accomplishment recently:

Senator Brian Schatz announced today that the Senate Appropriations Committee approved $16.7 million in federal funding for the East-West Center.  Senator Schatz has been working with his colleagues since January to ensure continued federal funding levels for the East-West Center, which supports U.S. interests in the Asia-Pacific region by providing invaluable research and analysis.  

“The Senate took a major step, especially during tough economic times, in approving much needed funding for the East-West Center that is critical to promote better relations and understanding between the United States and other Asia-Pacific nations,” said Senator Brian Schatz.  “Given that the East-West Center has a direct role in supporting President Obama’s renewed focus on the Asia-Pacific, and the importance of U.S.-Asia relations to our national and economic security, one of my top priorities as a United States Senator has been to ensure that the Center receives this funding in order to retain critical staff and maintain its valuable programs.  It is vital to Hawaii and our national defense that both chambers of Congress act now to move forward with final approval of funding for the East-West Center.”

“Senator Schatz was instrumental in securing the funding in this bill for the East-West Center for the next fiscal year.  He’s an effective advocate for the Center, which plays an important role in foreign policy and in our relations with other nations and regions,” said Senator Patrick Leahy, Chairman, State Department and Foreign Operations Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

“As Chairman of the Board of Governors of the East-West Center, I wish to express my personal deepest appreciation and thanks to Senator Brian Schatz for taking the lead on securing $16.7 million on behalf of the East-West Center, especially during this difficult budget environment,” said Rick Tsujimura, Chairman of the Board of Governors of the East-West Center.  “I am especially appreciative of Senator Schatz’s effort in educating the United States Senate about the importance of the East-West Center in advancing U.S. interests in the Asia-Pacific region.  The critical funding approved by the Senate will help the Center accomplish its mission of encouraging dialogue, leadership, and goodwill in the region.” - Maui TV News, 7/25/13

And Schatz has a big event coming up this month:

U.S. Senator Brian Schatz will address a public forum hosted by the Maui Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, August 13th, 5:30 – 8:00 P.M. at Maui Tropical Plantation. Senator Schatz will share news from Washington on issues impacting business people and indigenous Hawaiians. RSVP is required. Dinner is $25 for non-members.

Senator Schatz serves on three Senate Committees essential to the future of Hawaii:

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation is a standing committee overseeing the Coast Guard and coastal zone management, transportation, communications and highway safety, marine and ocean navigation, marine fisheries, nonmilitary space sciences, and regulation of interstate common carriers including ships and civil aviation.

The U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources oversees very important legislation for energy development, conservation and regulation, Hawaiian Home Lands, public lands and their renewable resources, federal resources leasing, and all territories, insular possessions and water resources.

The U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs studies and reports to the senate all issues pertaining to problems and opportunities of Indians, including land management and trust responsibilities, education, health, special services, loan programs and Indian claims against the United States. - Maui TV News, 7/25/13

Schatz also had a big visitor stop by Hawaii recently:

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz joined Vice President Joe Biden Saturday (July 27) in a visit with Hawaii military families.

The vice president and his wife stopped in Hawaii on a return trip from Asia. - Honolulu Civil Beat, 7/27/13

Schatz is a progressive champ and we need to make sure he gets a full term next year.  If you would like to donate or get involved with Schatz's campaign, you can click here:
Brian M. Dote <a">

Originally posted to pdc on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 01:13 AM PDT.

Also republished by Climate Hawks, The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party, and Native American Netroots.

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