The following post represents the position of the Environmental Caucus of the Democratic Party and is not an official position of the Democratic Party of Hawaii.
The House of Representatives is hearing a number of bills about the Public Lands Development Corporation tomorrow (Saturday). You can submit testimony simply by sending in an email (if this link doesn’t work, the email addresses are below). Suggested talking points are also below. Please include your name, the bill number you are supporting/opposing, and the date/time (Saturday, February 8, 9:00 a.m.).
But if you want to have a lot of fun, please join us in appearing in person. We’ll be at the State Capitol in the auditorium (located on the very bottom floor, near the parking area). Politicians are easily influenced by large groups of people. Let’s have a party together and make sure our voices are heard!
Environmental Caucus testimony follows:
Act 55 creates the Public Land Development Corp.(PLDC). The PLDC is mandated to maximize the dollar return from public lands. Their mission is to enter into public/private partnerships to maximize the economic return from public lands. Their focus is on tourist development.
So far so good. Public/Private partnership have many benefits. But Act 55 his deeply flawed and must be repealed.
1. Act 55 exempts the PLDC from all permitting requirements including county zoning laws and building permits. There is no reason government projects should be exempted from our laws designed to make sure all projects are will planned and designed.
2. Act 55 exempts the PLDC from the government procurement process. This opens the door to fraud and corruption.
3. Act 55 gives DLNR two Boards of Directors. The PLDC can initiate projects which ignore the BLNR land use management plans. The PLDC can do whatever it wants on public lands without significant citizen over site and without any consideration of existing management plans.
4. The Board of the PLDC is made up of 5 individuals whose expertise is in land development. There are no land managers of cultural practitioners on their board. Absolute control over all public land is tremendous power to give five people.
5. The PLDC has the authority to define the adjoining land owners who benefit from their development and assess their property for the cost of development infrastructure. This places the infrastructure development costs on property owners rather on than on the developers.
There is much more wrong with Act 55 but I donʻt want to write a book. Act 55 must be repealed and we must start over with proper safeguards and with public participation in the discussion. You know that the legislation resulting in Act 55 was amended at the last minute and even most legislators didnʻt realize the changes when they voted.
Supporters of Act 55 say the weaknesses in the Act can be correct in rule making. As legislators you understand that legislation provides the legal framework that guides Government. Rules are immaterial when the enabling legislation is flawed.
Act 55 is deeply flawed and must be repealed. However, while the community focuses on the PLDC the Administration has introduce legislation to create the HLDC. The HLDC as proposed will be the PLDC on steroids.
Watch all proposals to eliminate permitting requirements from public project. The Governorʻs efforts to expedite his projects without permitting “interference” must be stopped.
You can submit email testimony here:
For more information about the Public Lands Development Corporation, please see GrandTheftAina.com.