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Archive for the ‘ocean protection’ Category

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We have done an excellent job of standing up for Hawaii’s conservation lands and waters!  Last Fall, the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) proposed a suite of regulatory rollbacks in Hawaii’s conservation areas.  Hundreds of individuals and organizations stepped up to defend Hawaii’s sacred and significant lands, and the DLNR staff listened. The majority of these rollbacks have been abandoned!!  Please make a point to thank the DLNR staff for listening.

BUT (there’s always a but), three major loopholes still linger. We need your help right now to halt them.

1. Just add “comprehensive”: by changing definitions and re-structures subsections, the new rules would effectively erase the Third Circuit Court’s ruling in favor of protecting Mauna Kea’s natural and cultural resources through comprehensive management.

We can prevent this rollback by asking DLNR to insert the word “comprehensive” into the sections that require management plans for astronomy facilities.  This should be extended to include open ocean aquaculture facilities too.

With this one word, Hawaii’s land managers could abandon the piecemeal decision-making that has allowed so much of our public trust lands and waters to be sacrificed in the past. And instead embrace truly comprehensive management, where resource protection is the primary purpose of all decision-making.

2. Protective zone is not an energy production zone: The new rules would allow for renewable energy production facilities to be located in the most protected subzone of the conservation district.  This makes no sense.  We all support renewable energy, but not when it is pitted against the protection of our most fragile wilderness areas.

3. Public oversight on commercial uses: The new rules would take away the requirement that commercial activities in the conservation district undergo a public hearing.  There is a lot of opportunity for abuse in these situations.  At the very least, commercial use of state (ceded) lands in the conservation district should undergo public hearing and Board approval.

Please attend the hearings this week and next (info below) and thank DLNR staff for listening and urge them to close the last loopholes.

Hearings start at 5:30 pm:

  • January 24, 2011 Waiehu, Maui
    Paukukalo Community Center, 657 Kaumualii St.
  • January 25, 2011 Hilo, Hawaii
    Hawaii County Council Room, 25 Aupuni St.
  • January 31, 2011 Kaunakakai, Molokai
    Mitchell Pauole Center, 90 Ainoa St.
  • February 1, 2011 Lihue, Kauai
    Lihue Library, 4344 Hardy St.
  • February 7, 2011 Kona, Hawaii
    Mayor’s Conf. Room, 75-5706 Kuakini Hwy, Rm 103
  • February 9, 2011 Honolulu, Oahu
    Kalanimoku Bldg., 1151 Punchbowl St., Rm 132
  • Link to Proposed Rule Changes:
    www.hawaii.gov/dlnr/occl

    Mahalo nui,
    Marti and All Us Guys at KAHEA: The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance

    1149 Bethel St., #415
    Honolulu, HI 96813
    www.kahea.org
    blog.kahea.org

    phone: 808-524-8220 (O`ahu), 877-585-2432 toll-free
    email: kahea-alliance@hawaii.rr.com

    KAHEA: the Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance is a network of thousands of diverse individuals islands-wide and around the world. Together, we work to secure the strongest possible protections for Hawaii’s most ecologically unique and culturally sacred places and resources.

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In the first week of the 2011 Legislative Session, the priorities for achieving a more sustainable future in Hawai‘i are already apparent. Ending Hawai‘i’s over-dependence on imported food and oil, as well as basic respect for indigenous knowledge and traditional practice as a component of environmental protection dominated the latest meeting of the Environmental Legislative Network (ELN).

“The time is now to make fundamental changes,” said Marti Townsend at the ELN meeting. “This year Hawai‘i has a real opportunity to finally flip our dependence on imported food and energy and embrace culturally appropriate management paradigms.”

As the longstanding roundtable of Hawai‘i-based organizations involved in environmental policy, ELN convened this forum at the State Capitol to hear the priorities of more than 20 groups, citizens, and agencies tracking legislation this session. The Sierra Club and the Environmental Caucus of the Hawai‘i Democratic Party highlighted the need for a system to promote and encourage local agriculture.

The Hawai‘i Farmers Union and Hawai‘i School Garden Hui echoed the need for more agricultural education and resilience in Hawai‘i’s food systems. “Agriculture is alive in the hearts, minds, and hands of Hawai‘i’s youth who are experiencing nature through school gardens and other outdoor, applied learning opportunities,” said Hui member, Lydi Morgan Bernal. “They are the future farmers and pono stewards of our lands, waters, and communities.”

ELN members recognized that respect for indigenous knowledge, cultures and traditional practices is key to sustainable development and proper management of Hawai‘i’s environment. Accordingly, ELN members prioritized proposals that addressed fundamental concerns for the rights of Hawai‘i’s indigenous people.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs identified three environmental priorities, including tightening of the requirements for the sale of state lands; establishing basic training for appointed officials on the rights of Native Hawaiians; and setting minimum requirements for all cultural impact assessments included in environmental impact statements or assessments.

“OHA is committed to safeguarding Hawai‘i’s land and cultural resources,” said Clyde Nāmu‘o, OHA’s chief executive officer. “This benefits Native Hawaiians and all of the people of Hawai‘i.”

In addition, groups at the ELN forum highlighted the need to continue support for land conservation funds and to find additional dedicated funding to address invasive species. “These funds and programs play a direct roll in protecting the state’s forests and fresh water supply, and prevent invasive species from doing further harm to our economy, environment and quality of life,” said The Nature Conservancy’s Mark Fox. “We ask the Legislature to continue to recognize that a healthy economy in the middle of the Pacific Ocean is dependent on a healthy environment.”

Also at the top of the list for legislative initiatives this session were: reducing plastic bags, improving invasive species controls, protecting endangered species, greater shoreline setbacks, and funding for the Climate Change Taskforce. All of the issues presented at the ELN forum are included in the attached summary of legislative priorities.

ELN members will be using the new Capitol Watch system as a method of tracking bills and resolutions throughout this legislative session. “We know the legislative process can be opaque to most people,” said Robert Harris of the Sierra Club. “The Capitol Watch is intended to demystify the process so people can follow their passion this legislative session.” The Capitol Watch system is open to the public and available at: http://www.sierraclubhawaii.com/capitol-watch.

______________________________

ELN Participants

Conservation Council for Hawai‘i
Environmental Caucus of the Hawai‘i Democratic Party
Friends of Lana‘i
Hanalei Watershed Hui
Hawai‘i Audubon Society
Hawai‘i Farmers Union
Hawai‘i School Garden Hui
Hawai‘i’s Thousand Friends
KAHEA: The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance
Life of the Land
Livable Hawai‘i Kai Hui
My Organic Mom
Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation
Office of Hawaiian Affairs
PONO
Pono Aquaculture Alliance
Progressive Democrats
Sierra Club, Hawaii Chapter
Surfrider Foundation
The Green House Hawai‘i
The Nature Conservancy
Trust for Public Land
Voter-Owned Hawai‘i
Windward Ahupua‘a Alliance

See attached list “2011 Legislative Priorities,” Hawai‘i Environmental Legislative Network.

2011 Legislative Priorities
Hawai‘i Environmental Legislative Network

Conservation Council for Hawai‘i
Marjorie Ziegler, Director, http://www.conserveHI.org

1. Remove take restrictions on public hunting of game mammals. This modernizes the game program so that hunters can take more animals for food, and prevents the State from protecting these introduced animals at the expense of native Hawaiian species, essential watersheds, cultural sites, and agricultural lands.

2. Increase funding and identify permanent sources of funding for agricultural inspections at ports of entry and for invasive species control, research, and outreach on each island. Invasive species threaten public health, quality of life, the environment, the culture, watersheds, agriculture, and the economy.

3. Defend the Natural Area Reserve Fund, Land Conservation Fund, and Rental Housing Trust Fund against funding cuts and raids. These funds – supported by the conveyance tax – promote wildlife conservation, watershed protection, land acquisition in the public interest, and affordable housing.

Environmental Caucus of the Hawai‘i Democratic Party, Food Security and Sustainability Subcommittee, Juanita Kawamoto

1. Support establishment of a co-op livestock feed mill
2. Promote agricultural education through the development of school gardens and farms
3. Establish task force to better support farmers on agricultural leases

Environmental Caucus of the Hawai‘i Democratic Party, Energy and Climate Subcommittee, Charles Ice

1. Improve the Barrel Tax
2. Establish a Smart Grid
3. Encourage a better bicycle system

Environmental Caucus of the Hawai‘i Democratic Party, Natural Resources Subcommittee, William Sager

1. Improve Invasive Species Quarantine:
– Adequately fund the Invasive Species Committees rapid response teams.
– Resolution to improve quarantine inspection system that will minimize the introduction of alien pests, including joint federal-state inspection facilities at ports of entry like Honolulu International Airport and Honolulu Harbor.

2. Ban the use of plastic bags and Styrofoam food containers in Hawai‘i.

3. Establish a 2,000-foot conservation easement coastline setback on all state-owned lands on the Big Island.

Friends of Lana‘i
friendsoflanai@gmail.com, http://www.friendsoflanai.org

1. Reject any proposals that sidetrack or “streamline” the EIS process for any industrial power plant project. Considering the age, impatience and history of the Mainland developer for the proposed industrial wind power plant on Lana’i, it is very possible that Castle & Cooke, DBEDT and other state agencies, will try again to fast-track permit approvals, the EIS review process and/or other oversight provisions for renewable energy projects; e.g., DLNR attempting to change their conservation use district rules.

2. Insure that all public meetings with agendas that could impact Lana’i include at least one meeting on Lana’i. The recently announced list of public meetings for the DLNR’s review of conservation district rule changes includes visits to every island EXCEPT Lana’i.

3. Increase the number of Department of Conservation and Resource Enforcement (DOCARE) officers on Lana’i from one to three. It is impossible for one individual to effectively police this island of 90,000 acres.

Hanalei Watershed Hui
Maka‘ala Kauamoana, Executive Director

Defend and build the capacity of community-based stewardship programs to ensure long-term management of natural resources by those who rely on them most.

Hawai‘i School Garden Hui
http://hawaiischoolgardenhui.org

Form public-private partnerships to strengthen pre-kindergarten through post-secondary agricultural education and farm-to-school programs.

Hawai‘i’s Thousand Friends/League of Women Voters
http://www.Hawaiis1000friends.org

1. Ensure best possible mass transportation system for Oahu
2. Ensure system-wide improvements to the Honolulu Sewer System

KAHEA: The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance
Marti Townsend, Program Director, http://www.kahea.org

1. Promote public access to the beach by establishing a “citizen suit provision,” which would allow individuals to enforce existing public access rights.

2. Encourage the development of sustainable food systems, including proper regulation of open ocean aquaculture and commercial fishing, strict limitations on genetic modification of food, and support for local farmers.

3. Prevent the weakening of Hawai‘i’s environmental review requirements (Haw. Rev. Stat. §343).

Life of the Land
Henry Curtis, Executive Director, http://www.LifeoftheLandHawaii.org

Improve transparency in public utility rates. After the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has approved a power purchase contract, the cost figures should be made public. Ratepayers and taxpayers deserve to know how much different sources of electricity cost. Renewable energy companies would gain certainty understanding cost parameters.

My Organic Mom
Routh Bolomet, info@myorganicmom.com

1) Healthy Hawai‘i First act: A) Ban any chemical, food additive, ingredient, practice or procedure that will diminish the nutritional value or biological balance of our people’s health, threaten our food supply or resources that we use to grow our food in: water, air, soil. B) Regulate chemical trespass and chemical transformation due to Hawai‘i’s tradewinds and temperatures that exceed 76 degrees. Enforcement funded by fines and food import tax.

2) Sustainable Hawai‘i — Green Reward Incentive tax reduction programs: A) All new building permits must require new buildings or developments to be at least 75% self sustainable. All materials and systems brought into Hawaii must be reused or recycled without additional cost to the State or Counties. B) Upgrade State and County power generation infrastructure; C) Make these green systems available to the public for residential infrastructure reduction thru a mass purchasing facility (State Sustainability Depot).

3) Food Sustainability: A) Encourage backyard gardens — lessening the need to import food items and encouraging the consumption of food with higher nutritional values. B) Establish organic agricultural parks to support farmer success. Housing must be made available to the farming families on part of the land in a residential complex away from the fields. Funded by food import tax and 10% of food sales.

Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation
Alan Murakami, http://nhlchi.org

1. Establish a private attorney general right of action to impose penalties for violation of the burial protection laws and to clarify the breadth of available legal remedies to protect ancient Hawaiian burials from desecration by development.

2. Demand greater accountability for the production of homestead awards and begin to make adequate funding available to the DHHL, starting with an appropriation to pay for the installation of a water system to support pastoral homesteading at Honoka‘a.

3. Appointment of a cultural monitor to oversee and report on the implementation of programs to recognize and respect the ability of native Hawaiian prisoners in private prisons on the continent to observe religious/cultural practices while incarcerated without interference from prison officials.

Office of Hawaiian Affairs — Environmental Legislative Priorities
http://www.oha.org

1. Remedy the inconsistent quality of cultural impact assessments (CIAs) by codifying minimum requirements for assessing the impacts of a proposal on cultural practices; names OHA as the accepting authority for CIAs.

2. Require all council, board, and commission members that have an obligation to protect Native Hawaiian traditional and customary rights and related resources to attend a training course on their public trust responsibilities to Native Hawaiians.

3. Amendments to laws regulating the sale of state-controlled land to better enable decision-makers to assess the proposed sales and determine whether or not the lands were part of the public lands of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i or not.

PONO
Keiko Bonk, Director, http://www.oahurcd.org/pono

1. Pursue adequate state funding for the recovery of Hawai‘i’s 439 endangered species with focus on Hawai‘i State being out of compliance with ESA and MMPA laws for the critically endangered Hawaiian monk seal (ie. Gillnets and no required mitigation plan). Urgent need for funding for seal outreach and education for resident & visitor population.

2. Ban on Hawai‘i’s reef wildlife taking for sale by the international aquarium trade. Strong focus on endemic Hawaiian species for sale in this novelty industry.

Pono Aquaculture Alliance
http://www.ponoaqua.org

Encourage sustainable open ocean aquaculture by establishing minimum requirements for all open ocean aquaculture operations in state waters.

Sierra Club, Hawai‘i Chapter
Robert Harris, Executive Director, http://www.sierraclub.org/hawaii

1. Establish food sustainability standards that lay out Hawai‘i’s vision for the amount of local food it will produce and create metrics to determine our success in achieving these goals. Our state policy should encourage growing pono and eating ono.

2. Continue to reduce Hawai‘i’s opala (waste) addiction by reducing the number of paper and plastic bags sold, requiring recycling of CFL bulbs, and creating a mandatory “opt-in” requirement for the distribution of telephone books.

3. Require the use of native plants in public landscaping to ensure our government takes a leadership role in protecting indigenous plant species throughout Hawai‘i.

Surfrider Foundation
Stuart Coleman, surfrider.org/oahu

1. Ban single-use plastic bags (following the lead of Kauai and Maui) or establish a small fee for each single-use plastic or paper bag used to reduce the amount of waste going into our landfills and encourage people to use reusable bags;

2. Create a pilot program to promote water recycling and the re-use of gray water (from washers, showers and non-kitchen sinks) for 10% of Hawai‘i’s homeowners, saving money for individual owners and the counties by reducing the amount of water going into our wastewater treatment plants.

3. Create an initiative that offers qualified homeowners low-interest loans and/or tax incentives to upgrade from cesspools to septic tanks to reduce leaching sewage and water pollution, especially in rural and coastal lands.

4. Establish a 2000-foot shoreline setback on all Big Island state land from Ulupo Point to Volcanoes National Park to protect the historic Ala Kahakai Trail and preserve public access to the coast.

The Green House Hawai‘i
Betty Gearen and Gabriela Orante, info@thegreenhousehawaii.com

1. Reduce the environmental footprint of schools
2. Promote environmental education in schools.

The Nature Conservancy
Mark Fox, Legislative Coordinator, http://www.tnc.org

1. Defend the Natural Area Reserve Fund, Land Conservation Fund, and Rental Housing Trust Fund against funding cuts and raids. These funds – supported by the conveyance tax – promote wildlife conservation, watershed protection, land acquisition in the public interest, and affordable housing.

2. Increase funding and identify permanent sources of funding for agricultural inspections at ports of entry and for invasive species control, research, and outreach on each island. Invasive species threaten public health, quality of life, the environment, the culture, watersheds, agriculture, and the economy.

3. Support planning and resilience in our natural and constructed infrastructure to the effects of climate change. Ultimately, a small portion of the barrel fee (5-10%) should go to addressing the inevitable effects of climate change caused by burning fossil fuels. A good start would be to actually fund and organize the Climate Change Task Force created by the Legislature.

Trust for Public Land
Lea Hong, Executive Director, http://www.tpl.org

Defend the Natural Area Reserve Fund, Land Conservation Fund, and Rental Housing Trust Fund against funding cuts and raids. These funds – supported by the conveyance tax – promote wildlife conservation, watershed protection, land acquisition in the public interest, and affordable housing.

Voter Owned Hawai‘i: Working for Fair Elections
Kory Payne, Executive Director, http://www.voterownedhawaii.org

Support improvements to the outdated partial public funding program by supporting the Big Island public funding pilot program, which gives county council candidates the chance to qualify for a competitive amount of money to run for office.

Windward Ahupua‘a Alliance
Shannon Wood, Executive Director, http://www.waa-hawaii.org

1. Re-establish the CLIMATE CHANGE TASK FORCE – ACT 20 Special Session 2009 whose funding was never released by Governor Linda Lingle after her veto was over-ridden. Thus, its objectives – to identify current & potential impacts of global warming & sea level rise, to estimate the costs to mitigate damages caused by them & to suggest legislative & administrative policy changes primarily at county & state levels – were never carried out.

2. Create a temporary task force comprised of representatives from state & county public agencies, private sector businesses, non-governmental organizations, academic researchers, legal experts, and legislators to examine and evaluate Chapter 205 – Land Use Commission to identify sections which need legislative modifications reflecting 21st century social, cultural, environmental & economic shifts in policies & standards – especially section 205-17 – Land use commission decision-making criteria.

3. Establish a voluntary tax refund check-off fund ($3 to $5 per refund check) to provide additional financial support for the Natural Area Reserve Fund, the Land Conservation Fund, and Rental Housing Trust Fund. Hawai`i taxpayers already have set up similar check-offs for domestic violence programs, school repairs & maintenance, publicly-funded elections, and the state library system.

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From Marti:

KAHEA joined a coalition of environmental, conservation, and ocean user groups in appealing the decision of the Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting to allow Kyo-Ya, the owner of the Moana Surfrider Hotel, to build a massive luxury hotel on the beach at Waikiki.

Kyo-ya proposes to knock down the 8-story building (that should not be built there) and build a new huge 26-story, surfboard-shaped, luxury hotel and condo structure right next to the historic Moana Banyan Tree Court and the Kuhio Beach Park (the only public park on Waikiki beach).

Such a proposal is not allowed by the many laws passed over the years to protect Oahu’s shorelines, especially Waikiki Beach.  Despite these protections, the City approved Kyo-ya’s proposal.

Allowing this construction project is such a bad idea, in so many ways:
– it will increase the pressure to use this beach while undermining the overall experience of the beach;
– it will mean a taller skyline and even more seawalls;
– it will make suffering sea level rise that much more painful;
– it will create housing for the absurdly wealthy while adding to the construction waste landfilled in Native Hawaiian communities;
– it won’t create any longterm jobs, but it will make it even harder to fish, dive, and surf in this area; and
– it will weaken the overall efficacy of the laws we established to protect our best interests because the City felt like exempting the hotel from the no-build zone on Waikiki.

That’s why we are appealing the decision to the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Learn more about this issue:

Coalition fights to keep Waikiki developer Kyo-Ya from bending the rules,” The Hawaii Independent, Jan. 6, 2011.

Appeal filed to the Zoning Board of Appeals, Dec. 28, 2010.

The Surfrider Foundation

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Mahalo to all who took action in the last few months, asking the Army Corps of Engineers to hold a public hearing on a permit to allow Hawai’i Ocean Technology, Inc. (HOTI) to build a proposed 247-acre ahi tuna feed lot off the Kohala Coast. 100% of the feed for this project would be imported from fisheries in places like Peru, and 90% of the tuna they feedlot will be exported to Japan and the continental U.S. (Does this sound like local food sovereignty to you? Not so much.)

Last week, we got news that HOTI has withdrawn their permit application. They may still be looking to do a smaller one-cage “experimental” operation. We’ll keep you updated. But for now, count this is a victory for the ocean.  Mahalo for your action! Thanks to you, we’re a little closer today to a collective vision of food sovereignty and a functioning food system for Hawai’i. To learn more or to join the hui in support of pono aquaculture, you can go to www.ponoaqua.org

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We attended the Honolulu scoping meeting on the Navy’s planned expansion of sonar and underwater munitions testing and training activities two weeks ago. We’re still working on processing the information and our thoughts about the process. In the meantime, we thought we’d share these thoughts from Uncle Jim on Moku o Keawe about their experience in Hilo:

From Uncle Jim Albertini:

Tonight’s (8/26/10) EIS Scoping Meeting on Navy expansion plans for Hawaii and the Pacific was more hardball than the Marines similar meeting of 2 days ago. (Then again, at the Marines meeting we had retired Marine Sergeant Major, Kupuna Sam Kaleleiki, to open the path with a pule and the initial public testimony.)

The Navy EIS personnel weren’t nearly as respectful of the right to public speaking and the community being able to hear each others concerns.  Some of the Navy team were downright arrogant, insulting and contemptuous.  Initially the Navy wasn’t going to allow us to bring our portable sound system into the Hilo H.S. cafeteria to hold a citizen public hearing.  Finally with police presence brought in, the Navy yielded the last hour of the planned 4-8PM event to our citizen hearing.

Some of the Navy EIS team were blatantly rude in not listening to community speakers and carried on their own conversations.  Before the public testimony, we invited all present to join hands in a pule and asked for mutual respect, and open minds and hearts.

The Navy refused to have any of their personnel take notes to make the public comments part of the official record of scoping concerns.  Community people were very respectful of the Navy personnel as human beings, but the aloha spirit wasn’t returned by many of the Navy people present.  Too bad.

Many of the Navy people were hard set to their format. Tour the science fair stations, and  If you wanted to comment, put it in writing or type it into a computer.  We were told over and over.  This is not a public hearing. No public speaking is allowed.

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We got our August issue of the excellent Environment Hawai’i in the mail the other day!

On DAR’s proposed list of activities that they believe should be exempted from doing environmental assessment, they write, “DAR’s proposed list appears to exempt every type of permit and license issued by the division.” Including live rock and coral collecting permits and all permits for Papahanaumokuakea in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

There is also great coverage of Waimanalo Gulch violations and wet-noodle enforcement from the Department of Health, and excellent reporting on this summer’s WESPAC meetings.

Mahalo to Pat and Teresa for their excellent investigative reporting! You can support Environment Hawai’i by subscribing today!

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OCCL Hearing Honolulu
From Marti:
On Thursday night, the Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands (OCCL) held a public hearing in Honolulu on their proposed changes to the regulations protecting conservation districts. The first major changes in 15 years… so it wasn’t surprising to see the meeting was standing room only.Unfortunately, only a dozen or so of us felt empowered to speak (it was a particularly uncomfortable hearing set-up).

Hearings officer Sam Lemmo, the administrator for OCCL, made a point of assuring the room that the final regulations would definitely be different from what we are seeing tonight based on all of the great input they had been getting.  (Did you just feel that gentle pat on the top of your head?  I did.)

We pressed Sam on when we might actually see the final regulations. Generally speaking, the agenda for the Board of Land and Natural Resources is posted a mere six-days before the Board decides an issue.  Will we only get six days to review the final version of the rules that are supposed to be protecting our conservation lands for at least the next 15 years?

In response, Sam chuckled and said “good question.”  The audience laughed.  I laughed, too — because what do you do when someone laughs in your face?  Despite all the laughter it was a sad moment.

It is sad when regulations as important as these are given but the bare minimum of study and public process.  We are talking about 2 million acres of conservation lands — our watersheds, nearshore waters… the important places.  Conservation lands are 51% of the crown and government lands that are supposed to be held in the “ceded” lands trust for Native Hawaiians and the people of Hawaii — we have an obligation to protect these assets.

From what I hear from the old-timers, when these rules were changed 15 years ago, there was a public blue ribbon panel convened to advise the division on improving the regulations. Today, DLNR is unilaterally proposing major revisions. What gives? Where is the expert panel?  The thoughtful study?  The reasoned assessment?

In response to my quote on the need for “a blue ribbon panel” in the Star-Advertiser on Thursday, several insiders came forward at the hearing to thank Sam for DLNR’s history of work on these rule changes that were, in their words, “a long-time coming.” So long in coming, in fact, that the public just heard about them. These rules saw the first light of day in July and are expected to be approved before December.  Coincidentally, that’s right before the Lingle Administration leaves office.  Feels more like a 50-yard dash than a “long-time coming” to me.

Both in and out of public hearings, we have heard Sam say, at least 20 times (no exaggeration, I seriously counted), “Good question, that wasn’t what I intended” in response to questions and concerns about the staff’s proposed changes. I don’t know about you guys, but if what I write down isn’t what I meant to say, its usually because I was in a rush and didn’t take the time to think about the implications…  welll… that kind of pondering is exactly what we need right now.

Good changes, bad changes, the bottom line is these changes need more thought.  We should not let the timeline for the end of an administration drive the schedule for amending some of the most important protections in our islands.

Want to feel like you were there?  Here is a link to notes from the Honolulu public hearing on August 12, 2010.

Want to participate in the process?  Sign up for KAHEA’s action alert network, later this week we’ll send out an easy-to-use comment form by email.

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