August 29, 2023
State and Maui County Select U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers for Phase 2 of Wildfire Debris Removal
HONOLULU — Governor Josh Green, M.D., today announced that the State of Hawai‘i and Maui County selected the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to lead efforts to remove fire-damaged debris from areas across Maui affected by historic fires in early August.
“The Army Corps of Engineers is eminently qualified to undertake this big task, to help the residents of Maui move forward in their recovery journey,” said Governor Green. “The Phase 2 work will help with long-term stabilization of the affected areas, so that residents and businesses can rebuild in the way these communities want them rebuilt. We thank President Biden and all our federal partners for the pledge to stand alongside us, as the president said, ‘as long as it takes.’”
“In discussions with FEMA, we reached an understanding that extra consideration will be given to embedding Hawai‘i’s cultural experts into the mission,” Governor Green said. “There will also be a focus on utilizing local businesses and paying prevailing wages for the debris removal effort.”
“With the selection of the Army Corps of Engineers, Maui will be in a good position to have the critical and extensive work of debris removal paid for with federal resources,” said Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen. “This is an important step and we look forward to working with them in ensuring that our local workforce is incorporated in the effort including our local contractors, and that we remain mindful of cultural and community priorities,” he said.
“We especially recognize the gravity of the loss in Lāhainā, Kula, Olinda, and the feeling of loss to the entire island, as well as the importance of ensuring the process of debris management is conducted safely and with respect to the families and the indigenous and multicultural history of these communities,” said Lt. Col. Ryan Pevey, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Honolulu District Commander.
“Our deepest condolences are extended to everyone impacted. As we move forward, we will work with our local, state and federal partners, cultural and community advisors to develop a detailed process in support of FEMA, the state of Hawai‘i and Maui County,” Lt. Col. Pevey said.
USACE affirms its commitment to leveraging its experience, resources, and outreach to help the communities heal and recover, and assures residents that no work will begin until it is agreed upon by residents and business owners.
Phase 2 will be the beginning of personal property debris removal once the U.S. Environmental Protection agency has removed household hazardous materials from the affected areas. The timeline for Phase 2 is currently being developed.
More information about the debris removal process will be made available through Maui County in the coming days.
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