East Hawaii News

Sierra Club Blasts PLDC’s Decision for Single Hearing

October 16, 2012, 4:52 PM HST
* Updated October 17, 11:51 AM
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Criticism of the Public Land Development Corp.’s intention to hold only one hearing on the latest version of its administrative rules, and of the agency itself, is growing.

The PLDC last week announced that it would hold a hearing on the rules Nov. 13 on Oahu. That was a departure from the statewide hearings the agency held in August on the initial draft.

The Sierra Club today called the single hearing “a new low for this beleaguered agency.”

It said PDLC Executive Director Lloyd Haraguchi “is insulting thousands of neighbor island residents by excluding them from the process.”

The group also was critical of the agency’s decision to hold the meeting at 10:30 a.m., “when most people cannot attend the hearing….” The club said that “reflects a deliberate intent to ignore the public’s voice.”

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“Make no mistake, there are some very real concerns about the PLDC’s lack of environmental and cultural safeguards,”  the club said in a statement issued today. “The PLDC’s efforts to exclude the public from commenting on the latest draft appears like an even stronger signal that public input is not welcome.”

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The Sierra Club noted that while the agency recently adopted a strategic plan incorporating some public comments, it has “bluntly refused” to make any of its goals mandatory.

“So the strategic plan is an empty gesture — it can be ignored whenever the PLDC chooses to do so,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, the Hawaii State Association of Counties on Friday voted to approve a resolution calling for the repeal of Act 55, the state law that created the Public Land Development Corp. which is designed to attract private development of state land.

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If the state’s four county councils approve the measure, it will be included in HSAC’s 2013 legislative package, its president, Kauai County Council member Mel Rapozo said in a press release issued Monday.

The group received more than 800 emails from across the state over a three-day period seeking HSAC’s support for a repeal of Act 55, Rapozo said.

Similar resolutions have already been approved by the councils of Kauai and the Big Island and by a Maui County Council committee. The statement said the matter has not yet made it onto the agenda of the Honolulu City Council.

***Updated on Oct. 17 to add information about emails received by HSAC.***

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