Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Honolulu fisheries
office has funding

U.S. Sen. Inouye says
the center won't be
eliminated as feared

Contrary to a news report yesterday, President Bush's proposed budget doesn't eliminate the National Marine Fisheries Service's Pacific Islands office, said Jennifer Sabas, U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye's chief of staff, yesterday.

Operating expenses for the Honolulu office are in the budget proposal, Sabas said.

The Associated Press reported Monday that the Fisheries Service budget would be trimmed 11.6 percent from this year's spending and the Pacific Islands office would be eliminated.

What the president's proposal doesn't include is an expected $5 million appropriation toward building a new National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration office building in Honolulu, Sabas said. The Fisheries Service is part of NOAA.

Sabas noted yesterday that it's early in the federal budget process and Congress may restore funding for the proposed 400,000-square-foot office building to consolidate various NOAA staff in Honolulu that are now in a variety of mostly rented locations.

Even if funding is not given in the coming budget year, enough money remains from previous allocations of more than $30 million to continue work on the building's planning and environmental impact study and land acquisition, Sabas said.

The location of the building hasn't been determined. Finalist sites include the Navy's Ford Island, the Kakaako redevelopment district and near Windward Community College in Kaneohe.

National Marine Fisheries Service
Sen. Daniel Inouye

E-mail to City Desk


© Honolulu Star-Bulletin -- http://archives.starbulletin.com