Chapter Conservation Chairs Debbie Ward and Lucienne DeNaie are soliciting interest in a statewide conservation committee for
- Issues that cross island boundaries, such as DLNR mammal hunting rules, and more.
- Envision/propose legislative action that have multi- island impacts, such as invasive sp, GMO labeling
- Taking initiative on statewide policy issues, such as land use, agriculture /open space, energy
- Training, as needed on environmental law, strategies, and resources
- Others as suggested
We propose to set up an informal working group, with members identified by island, interests, expertise. Members would prioritize issues and identify working group members, involve Capitol Watch members/champions, and interact with Hawaii Chapter Excom members. We propose to meet by conference call for specific issues, and consider meeting quarterly before ExCom meetings (some members may be on both committees), and report to Excom with action items quarterly. If you, or people you know, are interested, please contact Debbie Ward at email@example.com.
The Conservation Committee recently provided a letter of support to the Hawaii Department of Agriculture regarding the release of a bio-control agent to reduce the reproductive efficiency of the strawberry guava, which is invading the native forests on all islands, and imperiling the watersheds.
Moku Loa Group Conservation Committee
by Debbie Ward
Moku Loa Group members are actively contributing testimony for numerous current controversial project proposals, including Aina Koa Pono biofuels, the Kaloko Makai development above the Kaloko Honokohau NP, Kahuku Village at historically significant Pohue Bay, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park’s management plan, Hu Honua biofuels, and Papaikou beach access.
Mauna Kea management was the issue that brought Sierra Club and other petitioners to the Intermediate Court of Appeals in November. Marti Townsend of KAHEA represented the petitioners, and UH attorney Lisa Munger claimed that the comprehensive management plan “does nothing.” The arguments are online at http://www.courts.state.hi.us/courts/oral_arguments/archive/oaica30397.html
MLG member Debbie Ward is a petitioner in the BLNR contested case hearing regarding the proposal to build one of the world’s largest telescopes on the undisturbed northern plateau of Mauna Kea. She reports that the testimony phase has ended, and the Hearing Officer will make a recommendation to the BLNR early next year. The Conservation Committee meets every fourth Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. for potluck and 6 p.m. for meeting at the Kea`au Community Center.
Update on Pohakuloa
by Cory Harden
Regarding the Army’s modernization plan for Pohakuloa, we commend them on several counts: Acknowledging the U.S. takeover of the Kingdom of Hawai`i; including a thoughtful description of the spiritual and cultural significance of Pohakuloa; mentioning old military sites, and holding this open house and public hearing.
However, we have many concerns:
- Is this the only place in the world this training can be done? Why was Pohakuloa the only place considered?
- Why does the EIS say there’s no danger from depleted uranium? Only a few fragments of DU spotting rounds were found at Pohakuloa, but there may be 2,000. Where are they?
- Why did DU air monitoring, as planned last year, have air filters with pores that were ten times too large?
- Why is it too dangerous to hunt for DU in the impact areaâ€”but safe to send bulldozers to crush lava for a one- by two-mile battle course?
- Is the training once done at Makua coming to Pohakuloa? Makua training brought fires that consumed thousands of acres in the past thirteen years. At Pohakuloa, the weeklong fire last year (not caused by the military) showed what could happen in a tinderbox area with no County water.
- Pohakuloa is a significant cultural area with almost 500 reported archeological sites. But archeological studies and historical consultation aren’t complete, so the public can’t review them.
- The EIS says wildlife would “temporarily leave the area during periods of loud noise and disturbance, but may return.” How would you fare if, every few months, you were chased out of your home?
And we ask again: Why is there so much money for new military projects, and so little for cleaning up hazardous old sites?