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Posts Tagged ‘shoreline’

From Marti:

The Defend Oahu Coalition is looking to you to help keep the country country.  A developer is close to receiving the last set of permits necessary to proceed with a massive resort complex on the North Shore. Your participation can help to protect Oahu’s shorelines from construction and the rural character of this community. Take a look at their update below and please try to attend their community meeting tomorrow evening 6:30 pm at Kahuku High School Cafeteria.

TURTLE BAY TALKSTORY II

Tuesday, Dec. 8th at 6:30-9:00
Kahuku High School Cafeteria

From Defend Oahu Coalition:

This is the second in a series of Community Forums regarding the future of Turtle Bay. The City’s Department of Permitting and Planning is reportedly very close to issuing final subdivision permits to the developer at Turtle Bay which will allow him to move ahead with the outdated plan for five additional hotels and one thousand more resort condominiums. The State Supreme Court is set to hear Oral Arguments regarding the Keep the North Shore Country case asking for a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement.

The existing property is formally changing owners this month, who are reportedly working on a new business model for the resort. This is a crucial time to get updated about the current situation. Efforts aimed at building on plans for preservation as well as sustainable land use enforcement at City and State levels will also be addressed.

Notable speakers invited to attend include: Governor Lingle, Representatives Abercrombie and Hirono, Mayor Hannemann, Turtle Bay Advisory Working Group Chair Bill Paty, Senator Clayton Hee, Councilmember Donovan Dela Cruz and Interim Developer for Kuilima Resort Company Stanford Carr. The moderator for the evening will be Dee Dee Letts, a member of the Ko’olauloa Neighborhood Board and longtime community activist.

Click here to learn more from the DOC.

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From:  Andrea

Last night at the public hearing on the Draft Science Plan for Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, held at the monument office in Hawaii Kai, a troubling consequence of the lack of environmental review was elucidated.

One of the Science Plan authors stated that research activities that have already been permitted are assumed to have gone through a “rigorous” review by management.  The problem?

Actually, there could be quite a few from this muddy statement.  For one, this statement suggests that research activities that have already been permitted will not be scrutinized- nor, certainly, environmentally assessed- in the future.  It sounds like grandfathering-in existing and previous permits, meaning some activities that have been permitted in the past will be continuously assumed to pass muster, despite never actually being environmentally reviewed.

Clearly, grandfathering-in research activities so that they never undergo environmental review creates informational ravines that make cumulative impact analysis impossible.  Cumulative impacts, the incremental impacts of an action when added to other past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future action, must be assessed.  The managers need to understand the big picture, especially when making seemingly small decisions like permitting.

Secondly, what is this “rigorous” review that the manager mentioned?  There has been no environmental assessment on any permits nor the entire permitting system nor the Science Plan, so it clearly was not environmental review.  If this rigorous review were undertaken via the prioritization system of the Science Plan, that, too, is problematic.

As I have blogged before, the Science Plan has two tragic flaws:  (1)  the prioritization scheme that doesn’t actually prioritize permit activities (To prioritize permit activities, it asks, pros and…pros?, leading to 97% of potential research activities to be ranked as “critical” or “high” in importance.) and (2)  the lack of environmental review.

But, the environmental assessment did not come with the Science Plan.  The managers argue that this is the draft plan, so environmental assessment is not appropriate now.  However, they also proclaim the plan to be an evolving document- not problematic necessarily.  The evolving nature of the plan is problematic, however, for lack of environmental review because, if it is meant to evolve, when would the managers consider environmental review appropriate? There could always be an argument that it is not truly finalized yet if it’s an “evolving” document.

On the other side, if the monument managers, in fact, conduct an environmental assessment for the Final Science Plan, which is the next step after last night’s public hearing, the decision on permitting prioritization will have been made.  And, environmental assessment is legally required to take place prior to decision-making.  The whole point of environmental review is for decision-makers to be informed of environmental impacts before they make final decisions.

So, either the Science Plan truly is an evolving document, in which case an environmental review is likely to be put off forever.  Or, the Science Plan will be finalized in the next step, the Final Science Plan, which frustrates the point of environmental review taking place before decisions are made.

Confusing?  Yes.  But it need not be.

KAHEA urges the monument managers to take the straightforward approach by conducting environmental review of the Science Plan, which guides the entire permitting process, prior to finalization of the plan.  KAHEA also urges environmental review of all permits- no grandfathering-in.  Each proposed permit should be looked at with a fresh eye, through the lens of cumulative impacts, which inherently change over time.

Let’s hope that public comments are indeed incorporated into the Final Science Plan, whenever that may be.  Otherwise, the one-sided prioritization system will continue to rank most activities high, leading to excessive access and impact in a fragile, irreplaceable ecosystem.

What can you do?  Speak up!

Last public hearing on the Science Plan  is in Hilo tomorrow:

Hawai‘i, July 23th, 6-8 p.m.
Mokupapapa Discovery Center,
308 Kamehameha Ave, Suite 203, Hilo, HI, 96720.

All written public comments must be received by the monument managers by or before August 10.

• U.S. Mail:
Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, Attn: Science Plan Comments, 6600 Kalaniana‘ole Hwy, Suite 300, Honolulu HI, 96825

• E-mail: nwhicomments@noaa.gov.

To read the plan:

http://papahanaumokuakea.gov/research/plans/draft_natressciplan.pdf

(It takes a few minutes to download, but once you’re there, skip to page 10 for the prioritization chart.)

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KAHEA Suit Asks Court to Enforce Law On Permits

Complaint Follows Whistleblower Suit By State Worker

“This is not the wild west; there are laws here.”

From Stewart:

The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands are known around the globe as one of the world’s last intact, fully functional marine ecosystems.  They are home to highly endangered Hawaiian monk seals and the birthplace of more than ninety percent of threatened green sea turtles.  Thousands of people participated in the establishment of the islands as the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, which led state and federal regulators to commit to a “do no harm” policy for all human activities allowed in the monument.  The monument is intended to be one of the most protected places on earth, with access strictly limited by the do-no-harm policy and applicable state and federal laws.

Despite these protections, the state of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources and the Division of Aquatic Resources have ignored their legal obligations when permitting activities in the reserve.  The agencies have brushed aside KAHEA’s repeated objections to the agency’s practices.  And when a lawyer working as a policy specialist to the Division of Aquatic Resources dared point out that the division was failing to follow the law the law, the division responded by firing the lawyer.

KAHEA has decided enough is enough.

The organization today filed suit against the department and division; the complaint asks the court to require the state agencies to comply with the law.

“This is a place of enormous cultural significance of the Hawaiian people and is intended to be one of the world’s most protected places,” said Marti Townsend, program director and staff attorney for KAHEA. “It is unfortunate that the agencies have forced us to take legal action simply to get the agencies to follow the law, but they left us no choice.”

“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,” said Kumu Hula Vicky Holt-Takamine, KAHEA’s Board President. “DLNR must follow these laws.”

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From:  Andrea

The U.S. Coast Guard removed 32 tons of debris from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands over the Fourth of July weekend.  Much thanks to the Coast Guard for ameliorating the health of our oceans!  See the Honolulu Advertiser article:

http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/20090713/BREAKING01/307130004/U.S.%20Coast%20Guard%20removes%2032%20tons%20of%20debris%20from%20Northwestern%20Hawaiian%20Islands?GID=e/Si+j1sOYkNlMXAMxQScaqw1wgB5/Nurtn+5iNvNh8%3D

While I am glad that efforts to clean up marine litter are taking place, especially in such an  irreplaceable, nationally protected locale, 32 tons is only the tip of the iceberg.  The scale of this problem is vast.  Marine litter filling our oceans is a global problem affecting all people and nations.  Marine litter, of which 80% are plastics, harms marine life, degrades human health, and results in tremendous social, economic, and cultural costs.

The United Nations Environment Programme recognizes this immense ocean dilemma that affects everyone.  In April 2009,   the UN Environment Programme released a report titled “Marine Litter:  A Global Challenge.”  Find the report at:

http://www.unep.org/pdf/UNEP_Marine_Litter-A_Global_Challenge.pdf

“There is an increasingly urgent need to approach the issue of marine litter through better enforcement of laws and regulations, expanded outreach and educational campaigns, and the employment of strong economic instruments and incentives,” the report says.

The report also notes that the “overall situation is not improving.” Thank you, Coast Guard, for your part.  But, we must do our part, too.

What can you do to help reduce marine litter?

  • Keep streets, sidewalks, parking lots, and storm drains free of trash to prevent washing trash into the ocean and waterways.
  • Take reusable items- and less trash and throw-away containers- to the beach.
  • At the beach, be sure to recycle what you can and throw the rest of your trash into trash cans.  Do not leave trash or anything else, like plastic toys or containers, at the beach when you leave.
  • Pick up debris that other people have left; recycle what you can, and throw the rest away in a trash can.
  • When fishing, take all of your nets, gear, and other materials back onshore to recycle or dispose of in a trash can.
  • If you smoke, take your butts with you, disposing of them in a trash can.
  • When boating, stow and secure all trash on the vessel.
  • Participate in local clean-ups.  Here’s one resource:  http://www.adoptabeachhawaii.com/
  • Reduce, reuse, recycle.
  • Serve as an example to others.

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from Stewart:

After the Surfrider Foundation’s Kauai chapter offered a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for killing two Hawaiian monk seals on Kauai, it raised an obvious question: Why is the Surfrider Foundation having to offer a reward? Where is the federal government?

It turns out officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration enforcement division have been investigating the monk seal shootings and went so far as to search a white pick-up truck in hopes of finding the gun used to shoot one of the seals. Click here to read the article. The special agent in charge of NOAA’s Pacific enforcement offfice said the investigation involves a lot of gum shoe detective work and that agents have been able to find some witnesses despite the remoteness of the areas where the seals were killed.

The feds are not just investigating killings; they are also proposing to expand monk seal habitat. In response to a petition from Kahea and two other organizations, the federal government last week announced it would expand the monk seal’s critical habitat to include portions of the main Hawaiian Islands. Here’s the link. The move will not restrict recreational activities like fishing or surfing in the critical habitat areas, but will restrict federal government activities and activities that require federal permits, such as dredging and coastal development.

NOAA has published the regulations expanding the habitat in the Federal Register. Here’s the regulation. And the public has the right to comment; please sign Kahea’s petition in support of the habitat protection.

In the meantime, here’s some monk seal trivia gleaned from NOAA’s proposed regulations.

— Despite concerns of some local fisherman that monk seals are competing for fish, studies have shown that seals prefer eels, wrasses, and bottom-dwelling benthic species and therefore do not compete for many of the fish humans seek to catch for sport and sustenance.

— NOAA received over 100 comments in support of expanding the monk seal’s critical habitat to the main Hawaiian Island; people see the main islands as essential because monk seals are in better physical condition on the main islands than the Northwest Hawaiian Islands and because the low-lying islands and atolls of the Northwest Hawaiian Islands are losing seal habitat because of rising sea levels.

— Scientists believe monk seals occurred in the main Hawaiian Islands before the arrival of humans and are indigenous to the whole Hawaiian Archipelago; the monk seals are believed to have been driven from the main Hawaiian Islands by hunting.

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From Marti:

This is just a quick run down on the status of some of the local legislation we are watching this session.  Tomorrow is second lateral – the day when surviving bills have to be delivered to their final committee.  The next major deadline is April 9th.

GOOD BILLS

SB 1088 – Seeks to improve enforcement of beach access for the public.  It successfully passed the House Water, Land, and Ocean Committee on Monday (Mahalo to Rep. Ito (D-Kaneohe) and Rep. Har (D-Kapolei)).  It is now on it’s way to the House Judiciary Committee (Rep. Karamatsu, D-Waipahu).  It needs a hearing by the first week of April.  Click here to demonstrate your support this important bill.

HB 1663/SB 709 – Both bills to protect taro from genetic modification are moving along nicely since cross over.  Tho, we are cautious to ensure that they are not amended to contradict the interests of taro farmers and consumers.  Click here to submit testimony in support of meaningful protections for our beloved Haloa. And, you can click here to read about the poundin’ good time had by all at the Taro Festival this year.

HRC 231 – This House Concurrent Resolution to uphold and enforce the laws that protect Mauna Kea was recently introduced by Rep. Hanohano (D-Puna).  This resolution outlines all that the State Land Board needs to do to fulfill its constitutional and statutory mandates to protect the conservation district of Mauna Kea.  Click here to add your support for this awesome reso.

BAD BILLS

HB 1174 – This bill seeks to give UH (the developer) management control over the conservation district of Mauna Kea. The Senate Committees on Higher Education and Water, Land passed this bill in a joint hearing, despite considerable solid testimony in opposition and only conditional testimony in support.  This bill now must be heard by the Ways and Means Committee.  Click here to take action and defend Mauna Kea.

HB 1741 – The bill to raid the Natural Area Reserve Fund has finally died!! Though we are concerned that this important fund to prevent invasive species could be raided through the budget bill.  So, stay close to hear the call to action on that front.

HB 1226 – Not only has the preemption bill died at the Capitol, it has also raised the ire of the counties who don’t appreciate some state representatives offering to just give away county authority to regulate GMO-agriculture.  Click here to read about the resolution Maui passed 9-0 against the preemption bill.

SB 1318 – This bill flipped to the good side.  The House Water, Land, and Ocean Committee deleted all the language about abolishing our coastal zone management protections and replaced with it with good language from Rep. Thielen’s pilot proposal to protect shorelines in Kailua from sea level rise with greater setbacks.

SB 1712 – The Right to Fish Bill is back in a slight muted form this session.  Unfortunately, this bill is starting to gain momentum. Stay tuned for updates on how to take action against efforts to undermine management of our fisheries and coastal areas.

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From Marti:

Great news!  S.B. 1088 has a hearing before Chairman Ken Ito (D-Kaneohe) and the House Water, Land, and Ocean Committee.  This hearing may be the biggest hurdle this important bill faces.  So, if you care about improving enforcement of your right to access the beach and mauka recreational areas throughout Hawaii nei, then now is the time to come out.  We need make sure the Representatives do not make any unnecessary changes to the bill, so it is important to ask them to pass this bill as already amended.

The hearing is scheduled for Monday morning, March 23, 2009 at 9:30 am in room 325.

If you can’t attend the hearing, but still want to participate, then click on the link below and take a just a second to personalize your testimony to the Representatives.  Tell them why uphold your constitutional right to reach the beach is so important and deserves improved enforcement.

TAKE ACTION NOW TO PROTECT PUBLIC ACCESS MAUKA-to-MAKAI (this is also where you can find out more about the specifics on this particular bill).

Big mahalos to the Beach Access Hawaii, Hawaii Surfrider Foundation, and the Hawaii Chapter of the Sierra Club for their support in this effort.

Hang Loose!  See you Monday!!

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