Remarks from Kat on the Public Lands Development Corporation (PLDC)

Remarks from Kat Brady, CAP’s Coordinator, on the PLDC:

I just returned from a rally at the capitol calling for the repeal of the Public Lands Development Corporation (PLDC). How ironic that the rally was held today when this administration has pushed this law (Act 55 of 2011) through with little to no public input. This law formed a corporation with 5 hand-selected board members to sell, lease, or enhance public land. One would think that there would be extensive public discussion about land that is a public resource. Sadly, this isn’t the case. Here’s a brief history of how this happened:

·         In 2011 SB 1555 went through the Senate hearings and it wasn’t too bad

·         When it crossed over to the House, it went to the Water, Land Committee who amended the bill with lots of bad provisions that the public didn’t have a chance to weigh in on.

·         Then it went to the Finance Committee where the public had 2 hours notice of the hearing. This violates the legislature’s own rules about hearings having 48 hours notice.

·         The Finance Committee, which is supposed to only deal with the financial aspects of bills, further substantially amended the bill.

·         Then it went to Conference Committee, where no public testimony is allowed, and even more bad provisions were added.

·         The Governor signed it into law as Act 55

·         In 2012, before rules were adopted, the legislature started identifying lands to develop.

·         The PLDC then created some bad rules and went out for public hearings – they got slammed all over Hawai`i.

·         The Public has come out in droves on every island to protest this bad law and calling for repeal.

Originally Community Alliance on Prisons only expressed concerns. After much discussion with many different sectors of the community, we believe that the PLDC cannot be fixed. The money to fund PLDC was taken from the Legacy Land fund that was established to preserve special places (wahi pana).  This corporation is administratively attached to the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR). DLNR’s mission is to “Enhance, protect, conserve and manage Hawaii’s unique and limited natural, cultural and historic resources held in public trust for current and future generations of visitors and the people of Hawaii nei in partnership with others from the public and private sectors.” Therefore, attaching a development corporation to DLNR is weird and, in our view, wrong.

An entity built on such a shaky foundation cannot stand. We need extensive public discussion about the use of our public resources/public trust lands. Indigenous wisdom teaches us that we must look seven generations down before any decisions are made today. Somewhere in the future, our children and their children’s children will pay the debt for the bad decisions made today. We must take this as a sacred responsibility. As Leonard Peltier wrote today: “This earth is our Mother. This earth is life. And anything you take from the earth creates a debt that is to be paid back at some time in the future by someone.”

 

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