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Posts Tagged ‘DLNR’

From Marti:

We have commented on every permit issued and every plan released concerning Papahanaumokuakea because we want to see these public trust resources protected.  At every hearing for five years, we have asked the co-managers to assess the cumulative impact of human activities in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

They punted on the monument management plan and fumbled on the science plan, but never stopped issuing precious permits for invasive, extractive (often federally funded) research in this visionary no-take-refuge.  Not only that, they issued these permits with exemptions from all environmental review.

We think these exemptions are being issued improperly.  This is the only critical habitat for Hawaiian monk seals — you can’t just assume activities there will not affect their fragile, important environment. So we sued.

Now, a year later, we may finally be seeing some action — at least at the State level.  Last week, nine permit applications for all kinds of research in the state’s NWHI marine refuge were deferred after the Land Board members conferred with a Deputy Attorney General in executive session.  We have no idea what was said.  But a special Land Board hearing just for these permit applications was announced for Monday April 19th.

What will the Land Board do?  Continue to issue permits that are improperly exempted from all environmental review or finally require that a real, cumulative impact assessment is completed — one that is public and takes into consideration all of the horrible things human exploitation has done to this amazing, irreplaceable marine environment?

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From Melissa:

KAHEA’s suit against DLNR has gotten much media coverage over the last few days. The following excerpts provide the basic information about the case, please read the full articles to further your knowledge on this very important issue.

Two lawsuits filed within the past two weeks claim that the state of Hawaii is breaking its own law that requires protection of the largest conservation area in the United States.

KAHEA: The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance Tuesday filed a lawsuit against the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources for failing to conduct legally required environmental reviews before granting hundreds of permits for access to the protected Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

The region is world renowned for its diversity of endangered species, unique deep sea coral reefs, and rare predator-dominated ecosystem.
The KAHEA lawsuit, filed in state circuit court in Honolulu, seeks an injunction to halt the unlawfully permitted activities and the granting of new permits until the state agency complies with state law.

The islands are revered as sacred by Native Hawaiian cultural and religious practitioners as the path of souls to the next life, says KAHEA.

“Our Kupuna Islands are protected and revered for a reason,” said Kumu Hula Vicky Holt-Takamine, KAHEA’s Board president. “This is not the wild west; there are laws here. Laws that are meant to protect our natural resources and the best interests of Hawaii’s people.”

To read full story click here

Without doing required assessments on how the proposed work would affect the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands environment, the agency approved such activities as shark kills, extreme-sports canoe racing, harvesting of thousands of marine species and disturbing of sunken vessels, according to Kahea’s lawsuit.

To read full article click here

Kahea – The Hawaiian Environmental Alliance – sued the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources in state court after a whistleblower accused the state agency of refusing to do its job…

Former monument policy specialist David Weingartner claims he was fired because he reported to superiors the issuance of permits without environmental review.

Weingartner’s lawsuit, filed July 8, includes a table indicating 20 permits, most of them for scientific research, which he says lack environmental assessments.

To read full article click here

After reading these articles you may ask yourself why the state can’t and didn’t follow their own laws. We ask ourselves the same question. Please keep informed and check back with us for further updates!

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maunakeaMahalo nui loa to the dozens of Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) scholars who submitted this statement in support of protecting the sacred summit of Mauna Kea. The University of Hawaii is seeking to take over control of the summit from the Department of Land and Natural Resources because they lost the lawsuit in 2007 that held the DLNR must manage the summit for the conservation of the natural and cultural resources there, not telescope construction.  For 40 years, the University of Hawaii has facilitated the destruction of the public trust lands on the summit by foreign corporations that own and operate dozens of telescopes.   You can take action, too, by submitting testimony online – just click here.

Kanaka Maoli Scholars Against Desecration
Statement on Mauna Kea – February 17, 2009

We declare our opposition to SB 992/HB 1174 and SB 502/HB 1370 and any other legislation bills that would transfer Mauna Kea to the University of Hawai`i (UH).  These current legislative proposals would give the UH complete management authority over Mauna Kea and allow implementation of a plan that has no limit on telescope construction, would close public access to the summit, and exempt UH from public oversight in the name of development.

Mauna Kea is a sacred summit, which is already being desecrated by the existing science telescopes. The Hawai`i revised statute 711-1107 on desecration specifically states that no one may commit the offense of desecrating “a place of worship or burial,” and the statute defines “desecrate” as “defacing, damaging, polluting, or otherwise physically mistreating in a way that the defendant knows will outrage the sensibilities of persons likely to observe or discover the defendant’s action.”  If this legislation passes, state legislators would be violating their own state law.

These legislative proposals also interfere with on-going litigation on the current regulations governing Mauna Kea.  We would also like to remind state representatives and the general public that in the recent Third Circuit Court case regarding the management of Mauna Kea, the court ruled in favor of the Plaintiffs—Kealoha Pisciotta, President of Mauna Kea Anaina Hou; Debbie Ward and Nelson Ho, Co-Chairs of Mauna Kea Issues Committees, Sierra Club Hawai`i Island Chapter; Ali`i `Ai Moku, Paul K. Neves of the Royal Order of Kamehameha I, Moku of Mamalahoa Heiau Helu `Elua; and Clarence Ku Ching, individual Native Hawaiian Practitioner—and against the UH and the state Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) for violation of the regulations protecting Mauna Kea as a conservation district.  This lawsuit is currently on review before the Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA) after the University appealed the lower court ruling against them.  Though the University only recently withdrew its appeal from the ICA, counterclaims that go to the fundamental merits of this issue remain before the ICA.

Besides blatant desecration, and interference in on-going litigation, the negative environmental effects are numerous.  As noted in the Testimony of the Plaintiffs regarding this legislation, two reports by the State Auditor have found that UH’s misuse and the BLNR’s failed oversight is “inadequate to ensure the protection of natural resources, and neglected …the cultural value of Mauna Kea.” Their report further stated that the University’s Institute for Astronomy “focused primarily on the development of Mauna Kea and tied the benefits gained to its research program,” and that its focus on telescope construction has been “at the expense of neglecting the site’s natural resources.”  Also, in 2005, an Environmental Impact Statement required by federal court order found that the cumulative impact of telescope activities on Mauna Kea has had a “substantial, adverse, and significant” impact.

The current proposals also violate the land claims of the Hawaiian nation. These legislative attempts to transfer a portion of the Hawaiian Kingdom Crown and Government Lands of which Mauna Kea is a part, is in direct contravention of the Hawai`i State Supreme Court’s holding in OHA v. Housing and Community Development Cororation of Hawai`i, 2008.  The Hawaii Supreme Court barred the transfer of this land base by the state. If this legislation passes, state legislators would be violating the state Supreme Court ruling.

This exploitative venture proposed by this legislation must be stopped because the entire scheme promotes the ongoing violation of the sacred summit of Mauna Kea; it would be irresponsible and bad public policy, as well as a continued abuse of state power.

J. Leilani Basham, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Hawaiian Studies, University of Hawai`i at West O`ahu
Kamanamaikalani Beamer, Ph.D., Mellon-Hawai`i Postdoctoral Fellow, Kohala Center
Maenette K.P. Ah Nee-Benham, Ed.D., Dean of Hawai`inuiakea School of Hawaiian Knowledge, University of Hawai`i, Mānoa
Kealani Robinson Cook, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of History, University of Michigan
J. Noelani Goodyear-Ka`ōpua, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Political Science, University of Hawai`i at Mānoa
Lisa Kahaleole Hall, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Women’s Studies, Wells College
Sydney Lehua Iaukea, Ph.D., Mellon-Hawai`i Postdoctoral Fellow, Kohala Center
Kū Kahakalau, Ph.D., founder and director of Kanu o ka ‘Āina New Century Public Charter School
Lilikalā Kame`eleihiwa, Ph.D., Professor, Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies, University of Hawai`i at Mānoa
Val Kalei Kanuha, Ph.D., M.S.W., Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Hawai`i at Mānoa
Kēhaulani Kauanui, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Anthropology and American Studies, Wesleyan University
Brandy Nalani McDougall, Ph.D. Candidate, English, University of Hawai`i, Mānoa
Noenoe K. Silva, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Political Science, University
of Hawai`i at Mānoa
Ty Kawika Tengan, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Anthropology and Ethnic Studies, University of Hawai`i at Mānoa
Lani Teves, Ph.D. Candidate, Program in American Culture, University of Michigan
Haunani-Kay Trask, Ph.D., Professor, Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies, University of Hawai`i, Mānoa
Liza Keanuenueokalani Williams, Ph.D. student, New York University

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