KAHEA weighs in on Public Land Devel. Corp

The public response to the PLDC has been powerful, smart, and effective. We received many messages in support of KAHEA Board member, Jon Kamakawiwo‘ole Osorio’s email and testimony demanding the repeal of the PLDC.

Many of you told us you’re contacting your legislators to demand a repeal. You responded by pointing to petitions specifically calling for a repeal of Act 55, sharing your own testimonies against PLDC, and the PLDC’s potential implications for public trust lands, Hawaiian self-determination, and potentially dire implications for particular projects like Big Wind on Lāna‘i.

Please keep it up! Contact TODAY public officials like your legislators, OHA trustees, the governor, and others with an obligation to protect our public lands. This will be increasingly important as the legislative session nears. Tell them why a repeal is the only way to correct the huge misstep that is the PLDC.

Many of you asked – how could PLDC have happened? This is a tough question with few satisfactory answers, here’s a summary from Environment-Hawai‘i’s July 2011 issue:

Act 55 originated from Senate Bill 1555 from 2011, introduced by state senator Donovan Dela Cruz, and which seemed to stem from an innocuous intent: “Public lands in certain areas may serve the State and its people better if managed and developed into suitable recreational and leisure centers where the public can congregate and where visitors to our State can go as part of their holiday experience[.]” Initially, and as presented by William Ailā, the only PLDC projects specified had to do with allowing commercial vessels in public harbors at Ala Wai and Ke’ehi lagoon – and those provisions were removed after boating communities in those areas protested.

Ten state house representatives (Karen Awana, Dela Au Belatti, Tom Brower, Fay Hanohano, Jo Jordan, Chris Lee, Sylvia Luke, Scott Saiki, and Jessica Wooley) and one senator (Les Ihara) voted against the SB1555, which anyway passed through both the state house and senate. And, despite a fruitless last minute attempt to stop Governor Abercrombie from signing SB1555 into law; he did – on May 20, 2011. The wider public got wind of Act 55 after Richard Lim, director of the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism, made remarks to the Hawai`i Economic Association about parks and other state lands spoke to the Hawai`i Economic Association made remarks about parks and other state lands that have been taken over by “undesirable elements,” the “vicious maintenance costs” of vandalism, and specifically targeted groups that contested the Hawai‘i Superferry’s exemption from environmental laws; “Ten surfers and a couple of well-heeled NIMBYs can wipe out economic development in the state[.]” Lim then described his hopes for “public private partnerships” – hopes that Ian Lind connected to Act 55 and wrote about in his blog on June 22, 2011 and Arnie Saiki connected to the then-imminent APEC meetings on his weblog as well.

KAHEA will continue to update you on the next steps as we work to repeal the PLDC.

Mahalo for all of the work that you’re doing to repeal Act 55 (the PLDC)!

-Us Guys at KAHEA: The Hawaiian Environmental Alliance

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