Puna man seeks injunction on the eradication in Hawaii
April 14, 2010 – Puna, Hawaii
Its not a common practise amongst lawyers to create websites for the cases they argue.
But Syd Singer is not a lawyer.
“As a disclaimer, realize that I am not a lawyer,” Singer writes on his new website, mangrovelawsuit.com. “I have training in medicine, anthropology, biochemistry, and medical humanities. While my training has made it less daunting to try and follow legal procedure and understand the laws, my particular legal approach is my own invention.”
The website explains Singer’s position against the eradication of mangrove trees along the coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. The mangrove is considered an invasive threat to the environment by the community groups working to eradicate them.
Recent efforts to poison and kill mangroves growing around the treasured Wai Opae Tidepools by the non profit environmental group, Malama O Puna, have been successful. “A mangrove infestation such as this has the capability of changing the ecosystem from coral gardens tide pools to a mangrove swamp,” writes Malama O Puna on their own website (malamaopuna.org) “The present marine life which thrives there now would eventually be replaced with different species, and our Puna fishery, whose fingerlings begin their life cycle there, would be impacted in years to come. The plants range from pull-able seedlings to 15 foot tall trees, and our volunteers have eradicated about 10,000 of them this year.”
Big Island Video News covered the story in January, when both sides were debating the issue.
“Why poison mangroves and leave them to rot in place?” Singer asks on his website. “What impact will that have on the environment, endangered species, and public health and safety? Why was no environmental assessment done or other necessary permits obtained? Why was the public not given their right to comment on this experiment?”
Singer has filed a citizen lawsuit against the United States Department of Fish and Wildlife, Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, County of Hawaii, Hawaii Tourism Authority, Big Island Invasive Species Committee (BIISC), and Malama o Puna. “These entities are charged with violating state and federal environmental protection laws (HEPA and NEPA), the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, and state and federal pesticide laws,” Singer says.
On his new website, Singer announced that a hearing will be held on April 26, at 10 a.m. at District Court in Honolulu to determine whether a preliminary injunction should be granted.
Singer has been a polarizing figure in Hawaiian environmental conservation. His recent stance against the release of a scale insect to act as a biocontrol for the invasive strawberry guava, and his protection of the coqui frog has made him the subject of both praise and ridicule.
But that hasn’t stopped Singer from fighting. “There is no greater time in history than now,” says Singer on the lawsuit website, “that allows you to sue for your rights, nor a more urgent time to exercise those rights.