Public Testimony Again Exposes Misleading Verbiage in State’s 13-234 Proposal

Public Testimony Again Exposes Misleading Verbiage in State's 13-234 Proposal

H.O.N. Now Reaching Out to the EPA and International Environmental Groups for Help

We have submitted to the Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) our Public Testimony for Agenda Item J-1, “Request approval to initiate Rule-Making Proceedings, including Public Hearing, to amend and compile Title 13, Hawai‘i Administrative Rules (HAR), Chapters §13-234, Fees and Charges”, for the upcoming Friday, December 7th BLNR meeting.  We would like to share our testimony with you here.

We urge everyone in Hawaii's ocean recreation community to submit a public testimony regarding this sweeping proposal to charge much higher fees while not addressing more urgent issues like, for example, harbor drug crime spillover into well trafficked public and visitor areas and  serious raw human sewerage pollution that plagues our surf spots and beaches breeding MRSA super-bug and other types of waterborne infections. Testimony submission deadline is 8am, Thursday, December 6th, 2018.

 

This was our public testimony:

This testimony is intended for the Board of Land and Natural Resources:

Suzanne D. Case, Chairperson
Stanley H. Roehrig, Hawai`i Member (Term: 7/01/14 – 6/30/18)
Keith “Keone” Downing, At-Large (Term: 7/01/17 – 6/30/21)
James A. Gomes, Maui Member (Term: 7/01/17 – 6/30/21)
Thomas Oi, Kauai Member (Term: 7/01/16 – 6/30/2020)
Samuel “’Ohu” Gon III, O`ahu Member (Term: 7/01/17 – 6/30/21)
Christopher Yuen, At-Large (Term: 7/11/14 – 6/30/18

 

TESTIMONY:

We were shocked to find that the proposal to overhaul §13-234 contained little in the way of any changes despite the many concrete suggestions from public testimony.   There are several sections in the latest of this latter document that openly mislead the public to a point suggesting lying.  We have outlined these here, along with suggestions.   This is one of our main concerns with this process.   A tax-payer funded State agency cannot move a proposal, rife with unethical content, forward for approval.  Doing so will set a precedent that would have existential consequences for our government and our community here in Hawaii. Pono is a real thing.  Pono in government is mandatory, as government decisions influence social norms -- what's okay and what's not.  If it's okay for Hawaii's government to lie and deceive, then there are certain in our community who will point to that for guidance and rationale. This is an island community, the consequences of deceitful behavior could be far reaching.

Once again, table this item and fix it --  fix this document so that it is truthful and communicates honestly with Hawaii's public. Once that's done, re-post it online for review and then move forward in the process.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL WATERSHED

By now it's clear that the State of Hawaii is unwilling, or incapable, of dealing with the enormous environmental issues it faces.  Because of this we have begun the process of contacting national and international organizations, and federal agencies, in the hopes that we may be able to secure some help.  

Firstly, we are in the process of reaching out to the Environmental Protection Agency for the purpose of assessing the legality of the absence of any black-water pump-out station in the vicinity of the Ala Wai's nearly one thousand boats.   Additionally, we hope to get a conversation with them about Hawaii's decades-long  ineffectual response to the flow of millions of gallons of raw human sewerage that flows into our waterways, harbors, estuaries, oceans, and surf line-ups, creating a public health crisis that promises MRSA infections and other public health issues. We are hoping, at very least, that this federal agency steps in and imposes a mandatory timeline for remediation.

We are also in the process of contacting national and international environmental groups to raise wider awareness of the State of Hawaii's raw sewerage leakage problem and huge plastic effluence issue.   In answer to one reader's suggestion that we contact Nature Conservancy: that would probably be a waste of time since Nature Conservancy has long known about these issues and shows no interest in participating in a solution.  Especially unsettling is that Nature Conservancy seems quite comfortable in the knowledge about the literally thousands of pounds of plastic effluence that flows from our waterways and out into the ocean on a regular basis. Nature Conservancy's picture-postcard environmentalism is enough to convince the wealthy that this organization might make a nice penance drop box, but we remain unconvinced.  Obviously, we will be looking elsewhere to talk with other, more committed, environmental efforts nationally and worldwide.

We are  also in the process of reaching out to the Save Our Surf organization and Surfers Against Sewerage, an international group based in UK that has considerable experience dealing with this problem, again hoping to raise awareness of Hawaii's plastic and sewerage effluence issues.  

As for the drug epidemic infecting our marinas, we have made suggestions to the DLNR in the past and they have been completely ignored.  See this article.  While the Honolulu Police Department has responded well, despite being short-handed, to the various drug-related crime incidents,  DLNR/DOCARE security is vaporous and continues to do nothing.  See the public's reaction in the YouTube video in this article.  There is no expectation that anything will change anytime soon.

Regarding the DLNR's accounting quagmire, there have been qualified individuals in the community who have come forward with  observations and suggestions.  We have no reason to believe, at this time, that the State of Hawaii's DLNR, and certainly DOBOR, would be truly interested in hearing about and incorporating some of these into their practices. Ed Underwood's latest rationale, sent around to all harbors for dissemination, is an accounting hodge-podge that doesn't speak well of the State's business acumen.   See this article discussing some of the issues.

Sincerely,

Katherine Lindell

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