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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, June 27, 2001

Hawai'i to get federal funds for beach restoration

By Jessica Webster
Advertiser Staff Writer

Though President Bush is pushing a plan to limit the amount of money the federal government must pay for beach construction and restoration projects, Hawai'i is poised to get about $250,000 for projects in Waikiki and Kihei, the most the state has ever received.

Sam Lemmo of the Coastal Lands Program in the Department of Land and Natural Resources says beach nourishment is important.

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The Bush administration had recommended $50,000 for Waikiki and $50,000 for Kihei in shore protection money for fiscal year 2002. The Hawai'i Department of Land and Natural Resources requested more than $500,000 for the work.

But Reps. Patsy Mink and Neil Abercrombie have secured about $250,000 in appropriations.

The federal government pays 65 percent of a project's construction cost, with state, local and private parties paying the rest. Bush has advocated cutting the federal slice to 35 percent.

"The (federal) administration has been somewhat hostile to beach replenishment projects, saying federal government should be paying as little as possible," said Sam Lemmo of the Coastal Lands Program in the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

"They feel that people in Kentucky or Iowa shouldn't be paying for renourishment of beaches in Florida, Jersey or Hawai'i; and some people feel that beach nourishment doesn't work," Lemmo said. "But in Hawai'i, we're finding that beach nourishment is very important in buffering storms and maintaining a strong tourism industry."

The House Appropriations Committee's plans to spend $150 million for shore protection programs in 2002 were approved Monday as part of a $23.7 billion measure financing energy and water programs.