Schatz pushes for plan for damaging albizia trees


PUNA — U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz is working with state and local officials on Hawaii’s Big Island to form a hazard mitigation plan for albizia trees on Hawaii’s Big Island.

Schatz met with State Sen. Russell Ruderman, Director of Civil Defense Darryl Oliveira and other local officials Tuesday.

They agree that all levels of government share responsibility for dealing with the hazard posed by the trees. Hundreds of albizia trees fell during Tropical Storm Iselle, damaging homes and power lines and blocking roads. They say the next step is to create a budget and figure out how to split the costs.

Schatz says albizia wreaked havoc on power infrastructure and damaged private property. He says officials must work together to reduce the likelihood that it will happen again.