August 23, 2017

Are social justice issues a concern for environmentalists?

Henry Curtis in his article about modern slavery in the United States points out that many environmental organizations build silos around their activities. The Sierra Club was formed to protect the Wilderness. The Conservation Council for Hawaii tries to protect Hawaiian ecosystems. The World Wildlife Fund works to protect large vertebrate animals. The Nature Conservancy buys land they think is important to protect but that does little to protect animals that must range over large areas like wolves and grizzly bears. There are good reasons for environmental organizations to compartmentalize. It helps them focus their mission.

I was first introduced to social justice by the National Wildlife Federation. At one of their annual meeting field trips, they took us into a low-income neighborhood where pollutants from a military base were contaminating their water supply.  The problem was discovered when epidemiologist saw a spike in cancer cases in their community. It was a clear example of environmental pollution becoming a social justice issue.

The world is a big and complex place. I consider conflict and climate change to be the two biggest contributors to environmental degradation. We have done a lousy job of dealing with either one.

Locally, I went to a Sierra Club workshop on political action. I am not a Sierra Club member and I am known for wanting to establish a local chapter of the League of Conservation Voters. A Sierra Club member pointed out to me that the Sierra Club puts a great deal of effort into evaluating the voting record of local politicians and asked why I wanted to duplicate that effort with a local LCV chapter.  It was an excellent question and I did a poor job of answering it.

I believe in community-based management. Modern science combined with local knowledge can lead to the best results for the community. Local communities know their politicians best. Nationally, the LCV seeks the advice of their local chapters when making Congressional endorsements. Locally, a state wide coalition of environmentally concerned citizens can have a major impact on local elections. Having a local organization that can discuss local issues, reach a consensus, and educate the public about the pros and cons of those issues can bring focus to local conservation issues.

That is the purpose of this website. So, what do you think about:

  • Building on beach front property
  • Eliminating rats from Lehua Island
  • Using biocontrol to combat invasive strawberry guava
  • Controlling mosquitoes that carry dengue fever and zika virus
  • Repairing leaking fuel tanks at Red Hill
  • Returning water to major streams and particularly to kalo farmers
  • Establishing and enforcing rules for the sustainable management of our reefs and near shore fishery
  • Establishing a local chapter of the LCV

The list goes on so add your own issue and let’s get some action going.

August 16, 2017

Remove rats from Lehua Island.

Lehua rat removal: risk minimal, benefits huge. Sometimes sincere environmentalists are blinded by their prejudices. Our ecosystems are complex and often doing nothing is the biggest mistake we can make.

People who are concerned about pesticide contamination are willing to let rats wipe out the wildlife of Lehua Island. The overwhelming benefits of removing rats seems far more important than the minute possibility of damage from use of a rat poison.

Click here for a position paper the Conservation Council for Hawaii published a few years ago about rat and mongoose control.

July 11, 2017

SB1240 Reef Wildlife Bill is threatened with a veto


SB1240 requires the Department of Land and Natural Resources to submit proposed legislation by the 2019 regular session including a definition of “sustainable”, a policy for sustainable collection practices of near shore aquatic life, a process for determining limits on collection practices of near shore aquatic life, and any additional resources required by the department. It also prohibits issuance of new aquarium permits, transfer of current permits subject to certain provisions, and renewal of permits that have not been renewed for five or more years.

This article in Civil Beat gives a fair summary of the issue.

Thanks to our Democratic Representatives and Senators and a lot of hard work by the public, it passed the legislature and now sits on the Governor’s desk awaiting his signature. Governor Ige, however, has listed SB1240 as one of the bills that he may VETO.

Please email the Governor’s Office and let Governor Ige know that you support SB1240. You can also call his office and voice your support: (808) 586-0034

PLEASE SEND or CALL ASAP. The Governor needs to hear from us today!!



Protect our reef

MAHALO REEF WILDLIFE PROTECTORS!! Special mahalo to Leilani. Check out her great letter to the editor:

TO DO.  Please contact the Governor regarding SB1240 the Reef Wildlife Protection bill. Now would be a great time for more letters to the editor. It’s easy. Call Gov. Ige at 586-0034. Or submit comments or a request for a bill signing ceremony at To submit a letter, go to

OUR CONCERN.  We have not yet heard back any positive news from the administration, only the negative spin from the State agency that has opposed the bill (DLNR / DAR) since it was first heard at the legislature. Despite data, public support and a global crisis in coral reef health and massive decline in marine animal populations, DLNR / DAR representatives continue to promote commercial extraction of reef wildlife. DLNR / DAR has bizarrely claimed there are no significant environmental impacts caused by the extraction of 1-5 million wild animals per year. It’s as if representatives within the state agency are in denial and cannot recognize the effects of massive extraction of reef wildlife despite all evidence. 

The agency representatives do seem to recognize the reefs are at risk because of climate change, ocean acidification, pollution and overfishing for food. And while it’s great the DLNR now protects rock, coral and sea cucumber from commercial collection they have failed time and time again to protect all other critical wildlife, including fish, eels, crabs, octopus, shark and thousands of animal species. Change is long overdue and time is running out. 

Thanks again for your help!


TALK AT HANAUMA:  This Thursday (tomorrow), as part of a month of lectures about Papahānaumokuākea at Hanauma Bay’s Theatre Thursdays, you can hear from Kalani Quiocho, Native Hawaiian Specialist for Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. The lecture is from 6:30 PM to 7:30 pm at the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve Theater, 100 Hanauma Bay Rd (off Kalanianaʻole Hwy.).

Admission and parking are free.

VOLUNTEER: For information on a Volunteer Opportunity at Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) and the Battle of Midway National Memorial (NM):


APPLY FOR SANCTUARY ADVISORY COUNCIL:  NOAA’s Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary is currently recruiting members for the Sanctuary Advisory Council.  The sanctuary is seeking to fill the following seats:

  • Business/commerce (primary)
  • Business/commerce (alternate)
  • Conservation (alternate)
  • Lāna‛i Island (alternate)
  • Maui Island (alternate)
  • Moloka‛i Island (primary)
  • Moloka‛i Island (alternate)
  • Native Hawaiian (primary)
  • O‛ahu Island (alternate)
  • Ocean Recreation (alternate)
  • Tourism (primary)

The council is a community-based advisory group consisting of representatives from various user groups, government agencies and the public at large. The council provides advice to sanctuary management on the management and protection of the sanctuary. The council also serves as a liaison to the community regarding sanctuary issues and acts as a conduit, relaying the community’s interests, concerns and management needs to the sanctuary. Council members serve three-year terms which are staggered to allow for continuity within the council.

The deadline for application submittal is May 31, 2017.  For more information and to download an application, please visit or contact Shannon Ruseborn at


Applications are due by Wednesday, May 31. 

May 3, 2017

Join the fight to stop Trump’s Executive Order removing all restrictions on offshore drilling.

Offshore drilling - Worth the risk?

I don’t usually post a request for money even when it is from an organization I support. This is so important it cannot be ignored. Fighting Trumps EO promoting uncontrolled offshore drilling is something we must do. Also, this is a request from the League of Conservation Voters. One of the objectives of the Hawaii Environmental Hui is to set up a Hawaii Chapter of LCV as soon as we have enough members in our mailing list to justify forming an LCV Chapter.

Bill — Last Friday, President Trump signed an Executive Order potentially opening all of our coasts to offshore drilling, which would put at risk marine life, coastal economies, ways of life, and our global climate.

Today, for the first time in our 48-year history, the League of Conservation Voters has filed a legal challenge to the Executive Order.

We’re suing the Trump Administration to defend permanent protections against offshore drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans.

We need your help. We’re hoping we can raise $50,000 by midnight Friday to ensure we have enough for the fight ahead. If everyone reading this donated, we’d blow through that goal in minutes.

Help LCV stop new offshore drilling. Chip in to help LCV’s legal efforts and all our work to stop Trump »

Last December, President Obama responded to widespread opposition to offshore drilling by establishing permanent protections to prevent drilling in virtually the entire Arctic Ocean and especially sensitive parts of the Atlantic Ocean. LCV helped lead the advocacy campaign to persuade Obama to take this bold step for our coasts and our climate.

But now Donald Trump is trying to roll back the entire Obama environmental legacy, including the permanent protections he established against offshore drilling. Buried within Trump’s Executive Order that would radically expand offshore drilling is a section purporting to reverse President Obama’s permanent protections for the Arctic and Atlantic. The problem is, there is no provision in law authorizing a president to revoke those protections — that’s what we’re challenging.

This legal fight could last years. At the same time, other parts of Trump’s order direct his administration to expand offshore drilling to ALL of our coasts while revising or eliminating drilling safety standards. We’re also battling legislation in Congress that would allow Big Oil to drill everywhere off our nation’s beaches. So we need your help.

So why are we suing for the first time in our history? In a country where conservation and environmental safeguards are at risk as never before, we simply cannot afford to leave any tool in the toolbox. The only way we can pull it all off is with your help. Please, Bill: the environment is counting on you.

Help LCV take on the Trump Administration and stop new offshore drilling »

So we will continue to see you at the ballot box, in the states and the streets, and in the halls of Congress.

But now we will see Mr. Trump in court too.

Gene Karpinski
League of Conservation Voters

Join the fight to save the earth

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May 2, 2017

Hawai`i Legislature Contemplates Return of PLDC

Coconut Island in Hilo BaySeveral years ago the legislature created the Public Lands Development Corporation (PLDC). The legislation gave the PLDC the authority to enter into public/private partnerships to develop state land without regard to any regulations even county zoning and building codes.  There was such a backlash the legislature repealed the PLDC law. Now the Legislature appears to some to be bringing back the PLDC concept using a different vehicle. Next week the Senate and the House will vote on the conference draft, HB1469 HD1 SD2 CD1.

Go to Ililani Media for more detail. Click the button below.
Read More

May 2, 2017

Protect reef wildlife


Protect our reef

Aloha Reef Wildlife friends.

Our bill to protect reef wildlife needs Governor Igeʻs signature

We have come so far. The final language for SB1240 can be seen here.

The great news is the State House and Senate will vote, perhaps tomorrow, on the final bill. Your efforts to reach out to your legislators really made a difference to protect reef wildlife and the reefs themselves. Please try today to thank your legislator and make sure they vote to support SB1240. While the final version is weaker than the House version, it reflects a compromise that will phase out the commercial aquarium industry, which captures and takes 1-5 million animals every year.

One thing, in particular, you can do is contact Governor Ige to make sure he is on board. The state agency in charge of protecting reef wildlife has not been able to protect Hawaii resources for decades; commercial aquarium collection interests have been promoted at the expense of reef wildlife, reef health, and the public interests. This bill can change that.

Please ask Governor to sign SB1240 as soon as possible.

You can also ask him to schedule a bill signing ceremony to showcase the State’s commitment to protecting wildlife, coral reefs and marine resources. Go to the general website (, send a written message by going to and call 586-0034.

We are very close. MAHALO!


Please share this with your friends.

February 6, 2017

State Legislation -2017

Good Bills 2017
is a busy day for hearings on bills to:
protect human health, bees, butterflies – HB 1282, HB 253, HB 1571, HB 790
have the right to clean drinking water – HB 1582
protect our islands’ shorelines – HB 437
Submit testimony online for one or more bills:

If this is your first time submitting testimony, you need to register.  Use this link and click Register in the top right hand corner of the page:

In the middle of the next page there will be blanks to type your name, email address, verify email address, type in a password, click box to agree to the terms of a privacy agreement, and click box to “create user.”
Hearing Tuesday 2/7:
The purpose of HB 1282 is to:
  • Protect pollinators, including honeybees, native honeycreeper birds, Hawaiian yellow-faced bees, and the Kamehameha butterfly.
  • Help prevent the loss of biodiversity including the loss of the milkweed plant, a key food source for the monarch butterfly.
  • Grant each county the authority to adopt a rule or ordinance placing stricter limitations on the use of neonicotinoid insecticides or glyphosate herbicides than found in HRS 149A (Hawaii Pesticides Law)
  • Prohibit the use of neonicotinoid insecticides or glyphosate herbicide weed killers, without a state or federally issued license or State permit.
  • Bees that feed on neonicotinoid-contaminated pollen and nectar forage less and produce fewer offspring, according to new scientific studies.
  • In 2013 the European Union voted to suspend the use of neonicotinoids.
  • In 2015 the EPA put a moratorium on approvals for new outdoor uses of neonicotinoids
  • Since 2016 the US Fish and Wildlife Service has prohibited uses of neonicotinoid pesticides
  • Neonicotinoids are a new class of insecticides chemically related to nicotine.  Like nicotine, the neonicotinoids act on certain kinds of receptors in the nerve synapses and are much more toxic to invertebrates, like insects, than they are to mammals.
The purpose of HB 253 is to ban the use of pesticides containing the active ingredient chlorpyrifos
  • In 2014 the EPA issued a revised human health risk assessment showing potential risks to drinking water and human health where chlorpyrifos is used
  • According to the EPA chlorpyrifos can over-stimulate the nervous system, causing nausea, dizziness and at very high exposures, respiratory paralysis or death.
  • Scientific studies show that children or pregnant women exposed to chlorpyrifos in small amounts my cause development delays, permanently reduced cognitive capacity and learning disabilities.
  • Chlorpyrifos, introduced in 1965 by Dow Chemical Company, is used to control many different kinds of pests and is known by many trade names including Dursban and Lorsban.
The purpose of HB 1571 is to protect the State’s children from unintended impacts of large-scale agricultural pesticide use by:
  • Making the reporting guidelines of the Kauai agricultural good neighbor program mandatory for large-scale, outdoor commercial agricultural operations on each island.
  • Establishing disclosure and public notification requirements for outdoor applications of pesticides near schools, healthcare, childcare, eldercare facilities and other sensitive areas
  • Establishing a pilot program of vegetative buffer zones around selected schools on Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Hawaii and Molokai.
  • Children can unknowingly be exposed to pesticides applied on school ground, pesticides that drift onto school grounds and pesticide residues.
  • Currently, the State does not have an adequate regulatory structure in place to monitor the impacts on human health of pesticide drift
  • The State lacks sufficient data on pesticide use and human and environmental exposure.
  • The direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts on the environment and human health related to long-term intensive commercial use of pesticides has not been properly or independently evaluated
Hearing Tuesday 2/7:  
The purpose of HB 790 is to protect children, human health, and the environment by adding a new section to HRS 149A.  To be added in HRS 149A-B Pesticide Mandatory Disclosure are:
  • Mandatory disclosure and notification of outdoor pesticide use on affected school grounds; notify parents; keep records of and report pesticide outdoor use.
  • Mandatory disclosure of any commercial agricultural pesticide purchases; use of all pesticides. Requires public posting of pesticide outdoor application; public warning signs; 24-hour resident notification.
  • Public warning signs shall remain posted during outdoor application of any pesticide and until expiration of the applicable restricted-entry interval established by EPA.
  • Requires rules for listing pesticides used outdoor; total quantities used for each pesticide; description of area where pesticide was used
  • Grants Dept. of Health authority to levy fines for each day of violation and grants citizens right to bring a lawsuit.
  • Allows counties to regulate pesticide notification, pesticide use and establishment of buffer zones
Hearing Tuesday 2/7:   COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY
The purpose of this proposed amendment to Article 1, section 2 Rights of Individuals of the State Constitution is:
  • To allow the people of Hawaii an opportunity to affirm the importance of access to basic necessities for themselves and future generations
  • Provide guidance to elected leaders to boldly address these growing challenges
  • Ensure the individual rights of all people to clean drinking water, meaningful healthcare, and a quality education
  • The question on the ballot will be: “Shall the state constitution be amended to ensure that access to clean water, meaningful health care, and a quality education are among the inherent and inalienable rights of individuals?”
Hearing Tuesday 2/7:
HB 437 helps protect our state’s coastlines.
(d)  No variance for the construction of a seawall in the shoreline area shall be approved unless the applicant demonstrates that the seawall is necessary to protect an existing legal object, structure, or activity from damage due to seawater inundation or shoreline erosion and the object or structure cannot reasonably be protected by relocating it outside of the shoreline area.
To determine whether a variance for a seawall may be approved, the authority shall consider:
(1) The feasibility and cost of relocating the relevant structures, objects, or activities outside of the shoreline area;
(2) The likelihood that damage will occur if the seawall is not constructed and the likely severity of that damage; and
(3) The availability of alternate means to protect the relevant objects, structures, or activities.
Recommend that:
  • numbers (1) and (2) be deleted from this bill because it will always be too expensive to move a house or hotel near the shoreline
  • number (3) be kept to ensure that alternatives to seawalls, which alter and harden the shoreline and cause sand erosion from beaches, are evaluated before granting a variance for a seawall

Submitted by Hawaii Thousand Friends


January 5, 2017

Hawaii 2017 State Legislative Calendar

The 2017 Legislative Session is just around the corner (Opening Day is January 18th), and the calendar of deadlines has now been published. Attached is Public Access Room’s (PAR’s) 2017 Session Calendar in an easy-to-read format, with explanations of the deadlines appearing on the second page.

This and other helpful handouts are posted on PAR’s website ( – just go to the Information Sheets page.

As always, if you have any questions, or need assistance, please let us know!


If you were forwarded this message and would like to subscribe to PAR’s newsletter and alert list, please email with a request to “subscribe.”

If you would like to unsubscribe from PAR’s newsletter and alert list, please reply to this email with a request to “unsubscribe.”

If you need the attachment in a different format, please let us know and we’ll be happy to accommodate you. Mahalo!


Public Access Room (PAR)

A Division of the Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB)

State Capitol, Room 401

415 S. Beretania St.

Honolulu, HI  96813


Phone:  808/587-0478*

TTY:  808/587-0749





* Toll Free from All Islands

Hawai’i….. 974-4000, ext. 7-0478

Maui………… 984-2400, ext. 7-0478

Kaua’i………. 274-3141, ext. 7-0478

Moloka’i/Lana’i…(800) 468-4644, ext. 7-0478

Oahu……….. 587-0478i

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