by David Corrigan
HONOLULU, Hawaii – A Senate Resolution (SCR145 SD1) urging the Department of Land and Natural Resources to “resist efforts by the federal government to expand federal jurisdiction over Hawaii’s natural resources in the designation of critical habitats” will be heard in the State House Committee on Water and Land on Monday.
The measure asks Hawaii’s DLNR to “affirm its commitment to make the state the lead in the conservation, management, and protection of Hawaii’s natural resources” and also back away from federal expansion of current co-manager relationships, or the creation of new co-manager relationships.
The resolution comes as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans to designate 18,766 acres of critical habitat across seven units on Hawaii Island. The designation would help protect two endangered plant species – uhiuhi and wahine noho kula, as well as one plant species proposed for listing – ko‘oko‘olau.
The measure was introduced by Hawaii Island’s district 4 State Senator Malama Solomon. We interviewed her about related subject matter earlier this year.
The federal government is comprising more than 15% of (DLNR’s) budget. So the federal government’s attitude is this: ‘you do it our way, or take the highway.’ So, its whether or not the state of Hawaii has the political will or the wherewithal to tell the federal government to take the highway.” Sen. Malama Solomon (video at 1:50)
The Department of Land and Natural Resources offered some comments on the measure:
…the Department must work within the constraints of the legal framework as well as funding. Currently, state dollars are leveraged by federal funds to support several of our programs. Given adequate resources to provide active protection of endangered species, the Department can reduce the number of listed species and the designation of critical habitat. Similarly, the Department is better positioned to take the lead in co-manager relationships when it can provide staff and funding commensurate to the federal government’s investments. In addition to the Department’s commitment to seek a leadership role, providing increased capacity to the Department will expand the state’s influence over the management and protection of Hawaii’s public trust resources,William Aila, DLNR chairperson
“Hawaii should never be subordinate to the U.S. Government regarding the protection and management of our natural resources,” agreed Hawaii resident Roy Morioka. “I reiterate that it is of great importance that we do not allow the Federal Government dictate oversight of OUR natural resources.”
May 2013 – Kona critical habitat plan draws criticism
KEALAKEHE, Hawaii – A large crowd packed the West Hawaii Civic Center in May of last year. The majority were there to voice their disapproval of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposal to create critical habitat for three species in North Kona.