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Schatz Provisions To Track Long-Term Health Impacts Of Red Hill Water Contamination, Fight Online Child Sexual Abuse Included In Defense Authorization Bill, Passes Senate

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which included two provisions authored by U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i). The bill included a Schatz-led measure that would create a registry to track and collect health data from those exposed to the Red Hill fuel leak, in consultation with the impacted community.

“People who were exposed to toxic fuel from this leak should know what kind of impact that might have on their long-term health,” said Senator Schatz, a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense. “Tracking health data will give doctors, public health experts, and those affected by the leak a better understanding of what that kind of exposure can do to someone’s health.”

Another provision included in the NDAA would compel the Department of Defense to implement the End Network Abuse Act, a 2019 law authored by Schatz that will help the Pentagon stop the unacceptable use of the Defense Department’s (DoD) network to view, possess, trade, procure, and even produce child pornography. In 2018, the DoD’s network ranked 19th out of 2,891 networks nationwide when it came to peer-to-peer file trading of child pornography. Coupled with these troubling statistics is a lack of training and law enforcement tools for the DoD to take on child sexual exploitation.

“In 2019, we passed a law to give our military leaders the tools they need to detect and get rid of child pornography on DoD’s network, go after offenders, and protect innocent and vulnerable children, but almost four years later, DoD has been maddeningly slow to implement the law. My provision will compel the Department of Defense to implement this law immediately. We cannot afford to let another day, another month, or another four years go by without addressing this issue. The stakes are too high,” said Senator Schatz.

The two amendments are among other provisions Schatz secured in the sweeping defense authorization bill, including support for energy and water projects in Hawai‘i and a Schatz-authored provision to reauthorize the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act (NAHASDA), which provides funding for the Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant program.