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Posts Tagged ‘conservation’

Mahalo to EVERYONE who came out to make their voice heard on proposed changes to rules governing conservation and coastal lands in Hawai`i.

On relatively short notice, nearly 700 individuals and 34 organizations representing thousands more put down their name to tell the Lingle Administration and DLNR, “Hey, not so fast!” on these proposed rules rollbacks.

As you know, the proposed rollbacks affect over 2 million acres of lands, 51% of the “ceded” lands trust, as well as all public trust waters, reefs and ocean in Hawai’i nei.

Now, a new version of the proposed rules has just been released. Thanks to you — and your attendance at the hearings, your written comments, and your letters to the editor — we are at least seeing a final draft of the proposed rules with more than six days’ notice. (Six days is all that is required!) MAHALO!!!

It looks like the final rules will be heard and voted on by the Land Board in November (either Nov. 12th or 22nd). You can find the final draft of the rules and a general letter from Sam Lemmo here: http://hawaii.gov/dlnr/occl/documents-forms/proposed-13-5-amendments

We are continuing to analyze this final draft, but on first read, it looks like many of the most dangerous proposals have been taken out. This would not have been possible without so many coming to the table to take collective action in defense of conservation lands in Hawai’i nei.

That said, there is still work to be done! We continue to have serious concerns about some of the rollbacks being proposed and strongly believe that the process for these rule changes has been improperly rushed. It is important that we continue to make our voices heard.

As soon as we know the date and time of the hearing, we’ll let you know.

What can you do in the mean time? Please tell your family and friends about this issue and ask them to click-and-send testimony to the Land Board.

More resources:
– Action Page on the KAHEA website – http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/2699/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=4660
– Great piece in the Honolulu Weekly by Rob Parsons – Read “DLNRn’t
– Op-ed in the Star-Advertiser by Jon Osorio and Vicky Holt-Takamine – Read Op-ed
– Fact Sheet: http://tiny.cc/conservationlands

If you’ve ever been witness to a bulldozer in a wahi pana, or seen a poorly planned and damaging development, you know why these kinds of protections are so important! Please take the time to ask your friends and family to stand with you in defense of our conservation districts. Mahalo for making a difference for Hawai’i nei!

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From Miwa:

I wrote the little explanation below the other day to Uncle Bill Aila, Jr. in response to an email from him. Though it was written for him, I thought I would share it here on our blog, as others may have questions about KAHEA’s support of Na Koa and Koani Foundation in their request for intervention on World Heritage Site designation for the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands:

First and foremost, KAHEA fully supports legal protections promulgated in the State Refuge and the Monument, including the prohibition on commercial fishing within 50 miles of the islands. We believe deeply in a vision of full conservation of the NWHI, as it represents a significant place of refuge for cultural practice, for native endangered species, and for some of the last predator-dominated reefs remaining on the planet.

However, as you know well (!), we have had, and continue to have, some deep concerns about management in the NWHI by the state and feds.  Including:

1) Lack of meaningful prioritization for activities in the NWHI, or of analysis of cumulative impacts (taking into account past activity–including legacy over-exploitation and military activity)
2) Weak and disorganized permitting – “unified” permit process not really very unified in implementation
3) No enforcement plan, failure to push for accountability/mitigations/appropriate limits on military activity in the NWHI
4) Lack of funding/focus on cultural access or study
5) No public advisory entity established for Monument and limited venues/opportunities for public participation on decision-making
6) Lack of collaboration:  Monument Management Board has not met in nearly six months? Multi-agency commitment to integrated ecosystem management getting lost on turf wars.

At the heart of this, is an exhibited inability for the co-trustees to collaborate effectively. Officials on the Federal side have acknowledged “some deep conflicts” which the Federal agencies are “struggling to resolve.” Though many are eager to take credit for the protections in place for the NWHI, implementation has lacked the political will to “make it work.”

We support Na Koa and Koani Foundation in their request for intervention for the following reasons:

In many communities, the decision to pursue a WHS designation comes only after years of conversation, debate, struggle and consultation. We are concerned that Native Hawaiian consultation on the WHS proposal was indeed inadequate, conveying unified support, when this is not in fact the case.

Further, World Heritage designation does not offer any additional enforceable protections for the NWHI. Indeed, over 30 World Heritage Sites are currently threatened with de-listing, due to poor management by those in charge, including the Belize Barrier Reef System and the Galapagos Islands. In an article written this past February, Goldman Prize winner John Sinclair heavily criticized Australian officials for neglecting conservation management for his beloved Fraser Island following its World Heritage designation, in favor of facility upgrades, and recreation management (e.g. widening roads) at the expense of “natural resource management, — environmental monitoring of wildlife and ecosystems, fire management, weed control, and quarantine.”

In many cases, this designation is used to promote tourism to a site (See http://www.expedia.com/daily/sustainable_travel/world_heritage/default.asp), which ironically increases the tourism impacts to the site intended for protection.

What World Heritage designation does offer is prestige and publicity. Prestige and publicity is not a need for the NWHI, as a great deal of public attention has already been placed on the protection of the NWHI. Indeed, a TIME magazine’s feature Earth Day article (Bryan Walsh) on oceans just last week noted NWHI protections as hopeful action in an otherwise pretty dismal picture of world-wide ocean resources management.

What is needed is not more attention or prestige. What is needed is accountable, integrated and cooperative management that puts the resource and the rightholders first.

Let’s do that–let’s get there–and we’ll have a place that can really be held up as an example to the world of how ocean conservation that strongly protects cultural practice can be done well.  This is our hope, and vision ahead of our efforts.

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A tale of two cities?  One protected, one destroyed. Comments were due today on a proposal to protect 1,500 arces of a rare leeward koa forest on Maui. The Nakula NAR is a small, but important subset of the huge Kahikinui Forest Reserve.  It is home to rare native plants and trees… what is more important is — if protected — this area will become home to many, many more species unique to Hawaii.  A restored, thriving community. See our comments on the Nakula NAR.

At the same time on the same island in the ahupua’a right next door, developers propose to build 1,400 homes, a golf course, and a shopping mall over a rare dryland forest.  The Wailea 670 project would threaten 20 native species  and desecrate multiple inter-connected sites of cultural signficance.  Public comments are now being taken on the Environmental Impact Statement for the Wailea 670 project in South Maui.  To learn more and submit comments, visit www.savemakena.org/wailea.

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From Marti:

News coverage of the court hearing on the University’s plans for Mauna Kea characterized our opposition to the plan as anti-development.  It said:

“(opponents) want to block new development on the mountain by stopping approval of the management plan.”

As one of our kupuna pointed out, actually the motivation is all the University’s part.  She said

“advocates for more telescopes on the summit want the UH CMP rushed to completion in order to move forward with several new development plans.”

While it is true that as long as there is no plan there is no TMT, that is not the desired outcome for the plan.  We’re not trying to block the plan to stop TMT.

What we do want is the opportunity to have a real plan–one that arises out of a transparent process and allows communities to articulate a public vision for the future of these extremely important public trust lands. That is what a public planning process is supposed to do. The point is that we have been denied the kind of critical, public and open discussion that would lead to such a plan. In its place, we are being told to shut up and accept a plan that was written by the university and driven by its interest in telescope development and telescope dollars.

We have long said that we want a fair opportunity to talk through and determine together how astronomy and cultural practice and natural conservation coexist–in what form, by what rules, and with what limits–on the summit. This is not an unreasonable ask. The University is wasting precious public education dollars on motion after motion in this case, because they are unwilling to compromise in any way on their development plans. For the University, this case is all about TMT. For advocates of the mountain, this case is not about TMT at all. It is about our standing, and the right of the people of Hawai’i to determine the future of a unique, irreplaceable summit that is part of Hawai’i’s public trust.

Click here to read the article from the Hawaii Tribune Herald.

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From Marti:

Yesterday morning, the Third Circuit Court heard oral arguments on the University of Hawaii’s motion to dismiss our appeal for a contested case hearing on the University’s new management plan for Mauna Kea.

Though we are still waiting for the judge’s ruling, the hearing made one thing clear: supporters of this “CMP” also support more telescopes (and more desecration and destruction) on the sacred summit.  Less than a dozen people sign-waved outside the Hilo courthouse during the hearing with pre-printed signs that said “Mauna Kea TMT Yes!”  If you ever doubted the connection between more telescopes and the University’s CMP, then yesterday’s demonstration of support for the “Thirty Meter Telescope” at a hearing on the CMP should make it clear that the University wrote this CMP to facilitate telescope construction on Mauna Kea.  Indeed, the CMP does not speak to any limitations on telescopes or a carrying capacity for the summit.

…unless, of course, if by “TMT” they meant “Too Many Telescopes.”

And, Mahalo Nunui!! This is just a little shout out to all of those who took time out of their workday to sit in solidarity with us before the judge.  Mahalo for your unwavering support.

Want to help? Click here to sign up for action alerts and receive regular court updates. And click over here to donate directly to the Mauna Kea Legal Defense Fund.

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From Alana:

As a result of many letters being sent to state representatives, Rep. Mazie Hirono has decided to co-sponsor the “Offshore Aquaculture is not Fishing Act of 2009”. The bill asserts that under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the Secretary of Commerce, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and regional fishery management councils do not have the authority to permit or regulate the commercial ocean fish farming industry, because it is not fishing. 

The federal law that gives the Gulf Council and NOAA authority to regulate fish and fishing region-by-region was not intended to govern risky industrial enterprises like ocean fish farms.

This is a step in the right direction for the regulation of offshore aquaculture, which might soon happen in the Gulf of Mexico, and expand in places like Hawaii.

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From Alana:

From “Hawai’i has a lot to gain from open ocean aquaculture” in today’s Honolulu Advertiser:

Just as we need to be off imported oil, we need to be off imported seafood. This opportunity can be an economic engine for Hawai’i, and hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake.Let’s not stand in our own way. There’s  a lot to gain for everyone.

Absolutely.

The amount of seafood that we import is really astounding. It is upsetting, though, that in the wake of a very large aquaculture operation, which would export up to 90% of its ahi products, statements like the above, are used to defend it.

The article, by Jay Fidell of ThinkTech Hawaii, goes on to say that:

There are anti-aquaculture groups who don’t want “greedy” corportations to make a profit and export aquaculture products to outside markets. Those groups don’t acknowledge andvancements in the technology, and regularly diseminate disinformation about the industry. They’ve been pulling out all the stops, apparently bent on wiping out open ocean aquaculture in Hawai’i. Theyre’re completely wrong. Without open ocean aquaculture, Hawai’i would have to depend on foreign unregulated producers and overfished wild stocks. Those options are not nearly as secure or sustainable as the development of homegrown open ocean aquaculture.

I do not think of myself as entirely “anti-aquaculture”, I just think it should be done right. My cause is not to “diseminate disinformation”, it is to let people know that there are serious implications that multiple aquaculture ventures could have on Hawaii’s marine ecosystems. It is also to open peoples eyes to aquaculture in other parts of the world, and to how it has affected those places. This article makes it seem like there is some hidden agenda beneath fighting these giant open ocean aquaculture projects. But really, I have nothing to gain from this. I have neither read nor heard anything pro-open ocean aquaculture, aside from the people who would benefit direcly from it.

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