36 community organizations and three community leaders submitted a letter yesterday afternoon to each member of the Hawai'i State Legislature, urging that they vote no on HB499 HD2 SD2 CD1 during their final floor vote on the bill on Tuesday, April 27.
The letter voiced the group's concerns regarding the 40-year lease extensions that would be authorized by the bill, including the potential for inappropriate or outdated industrial, commercial, resort, and government/military uses of public trust lands to be continued for another four decades, and for a tidal wave of century-long leases that would all but privatize public lands and foreclose unrelinquished Native Hawaiian claims to stolen "ceded" lands.
The letter also provided examples of the Department of Land and Natural Resources' poor decisionmaking in its administration of public and "ceded" lands, which only heighten concerns regarding the additional authority and discretion the bill would provide the Department.
Finally, the overwhelming opposition to the bill throughout the legislative process was raised as another indication that this bill is not an appropriate step for the legislature to take at this time.
Read the letter here.
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