DOBOR Forced to Shift Tactics in Wake of HON Investigation

DOBOR Forced to Shift Tactics in Wake of HON Investigation

Public Can Now Receive Email Notification of Upcoming Public Hearings

Up until a few days ago, anyone wanting to put their name on a list of those interested in receiving an email notification of upcoming public hearing dates were told that DOBOR was unable to do that.  The reason that DOBOR Administrator, Ed Underwood, or Kevin Yim, DOBOR Staff Boating Officer, was giving was that DOBOR was constrained by law (HRS 93.1) in its ability to notify the public about public hearings and was only obligated to place an ad in the newspaper and nothing more.  The problem with newspaper notifications in the digital age is that nobody reads the newspaper.  We suspect this may be part of Ed Underwood's strategy to limit public appearances, and opposition, at public hearings where he might have been trying to get approval for unpopular laws (unpopular, as in, not being in the best interests of the community).

The law that they were referring to was HRS 93.1.  The strategy was that the public would never fact check and would have to be satisfied with the newspaper notification tactic.  Up until a few days ago, this was working wonderfully, and this response became commonplace to the point where they could simply copy and past this excuse into any email response to public inquiry about public hearing notifications.

When we, at Hawaii Ocean News (HON), inquired about public hearing notification, we got the same answer as everyone else. Copy and paste . . . wham, bam, thank you mam.  But when we actually had a look at the verbiage in HRS 93.1, we discovered that, in fact, DOBOR was required, by law, to establish a list of interested parties for the purpose of emailing same with timely information about upcoming public hearings. Exactly the opposite of what DOBOR was telling the public.

Yikes, we were embarrassed that we'd fallen for this kind of ploy.  We immediately contacted Ed Underwood and notified him of this little fly in the ointment, demanding that his agency follow Hawaii Revised Statutes as they were intended to be.  Ed, now caught in yet another lie, quickly huddled with his men and determined that what they'd been doing could be problematic. 

Within 24 hours, a new on-line form was established where interested parties could enter simple name and email information and then be placed on an email list for appropriate notification.  Those who are on this list will receive a notification by email of upcoming public hearings.  The notification will give the recipient 30 days to prepare testimony for the public hearing.

Here is where you can submit your request to be notified of upcoming DOBOR-related public hearings:

Ostensibly, you can also email,, and place your name on the list this way.  If you use the latter method, make sure you ask for a confirmation.

Interesting side note from the DOBOR website:

"Administrative Rules (such as 13-234) are regulations established by the department through an extensive public review and hearing process. The procedure for administrative rules is set by Hawaii Revised Statutes Chapter 91. A proposed rule (or amendment) is drafted by the department, approved by the Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) for public meetings/hearings, and reviewed by the Department of the Attorney General (AG). Then the draft is taken out to public meetings and/or hearings, where the public can give formal testimony on the draft rule. The rule is revised, if necessary, and then submitted to the Board of Land and Natural Resources for final approval. Then it is reviewed again by the AG, and after signing by the Governor and filing with the Lieutenant Governor, it has the effect of law."


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