This weekend, take a moment to OPPOSE HB2035 HD1, another "pasture" lands transfer bill, which has a hearing on Monday before the Senate Water and Land Committee and Senate Agriculture and Environment Committee (sample testimony and email information below).
(Thank you to all who testified on SB2812. There was healthy opposition but strong support from ranches and their affiliates. The measure passed, with amendments).
Quick summary: HB2035 HD1 would allow the board of agriculture to exempt development projects on 93,000 acres of public "pasture" lands from any law relating to "the development or improvement of land" and the "constructing of buildings thereon," and to issue or renegotiate new and current leases for these lands. These lands contain native and endangered species habitats, cultural sites, hunting areas, and other public trust values likely to be overlooked in the department of agriculture's leasing provisions, or in the board of agriculture's granting of environmental and other exemptions for development projects. For more information see previous post here.
Please and especially if you live or know people who live in the districts of WTL Chair Kai Kahele (Hilo) and AEN Chair Mike Gabbard (Kapolei, Makakilo, Kalaeloa, 'Ewa, Waipahu), this weekend is a critical time to send an email, or make a call, to ask them to HOLD HB2035 HD1.
Sen. Kahele: 586-6760, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Gabbard: 586-6830, email@example.com
Otherwise, you can also e-mail testimony by this weekend to firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
"Dear Chairs Kahele and Gabbard, Vice Chairs Keith-Agaran and Ruderman, and members of the Senate Water and Land and Agriculture and Environment Committees,
I OPPOSE HB2035 HD1 because it will let private ranches ignore the public interest in nearly 100,000 acres of public lands, and enable the destruction of natural and cultural resources, the blocking of access to hunting grounds and cultural sites, and the development of public lands with a broad range of environmental and land use exemptions. Nothing is stopping private ranches from continuing to use these public lands for their cattle operations, in balance with the many other interests and concerns of hikers, hunters, Native Hawaiian cultural practitioners, conservationists, and others in these lands. Please HOLD this measure and protect the public trust in our limited public land base.