World

Nervous Hawaiians Want To Revive Cold War Nuclear Shelters

A Hawaiian House Committee thinks it's a good idea to update the state's nuclear fallout shelters, for some reason.

World
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Apr 17, 2017 at 4:11 PM ET

With Vice President Mike Pence hanging out in Korea’s demilitarized zone on Monday to warn North Korea that it should not “test [Trump’s] resolve or the strength of the armed forces of the United States” and North Korea responding by telling the BBC that it plans to continue weekly missile tests and threaten an “all-out war” if the United States tries anything, it’s understandable that people who live in the vicinity of North Korea might be a little nervous.

Some lawmakers from the state that is one of the geographically closest to North Korea — Hawaii — are asking the state for funding to update its nuclear attack response plans and facilities, which haven’t been updated in decades.

Hawaii’s House Public Safety Committee voted on Thursday to pass a resolution that said the state “faces increased risks from natural and man-made disasters mainly because of environmental climate change and geopolitical conflicts” and therefore it’s in the state’s “best interest” to update its fallout shelters, which were plentiful on the islands and stocked with supplies and food in the ’80s but have since fallen into disrepair.

The committee’s vice chairman, Democrat Matt LoPresti, took advantage of the resolution’s passage to get in a few digs at the current administration, which he feels is responsible for the resolution being introduced in the first place.

“At a time when we have this kind of saber-rattling and really blustering foreign policy, it does make people a little nervous,” LoPresti told Hawaii News Now. He added that the shelters aren’t just for nuclear attacks; they can also be used for natural disaster attacks, like hurricanes.

The resolution has a long way to go through Hawaii’s legislature before it can becomes law, including the House’s finance committee and votes from both parts of Congress.

Hawaii is 4,661 miles away from North Korea, and the nation is not commonly believed to have missiles that can reach that far, though it’s not out of the realm of possibility that it does. It’s certainly true that the country is feverishly trying to build them.

For now, though, an expert from the Cato Institute told Wired that the best he thought North Korea could do was hit “unpopulated parts of Alaska.” Still, it never hurts to be prepared.