Categorized | Environment, Government, News

Community groups call on Governor Abercrombie for proclamation withdrawl


Abercrombie Administration Erred in Waiving Cultural and Environmental Protections

HONOLULU, HAWAII – Today, eight community groups representing a variety of statewide enviornmental and cultural interests, issued a joint letter calling for Governor Abercrombie to withdraw recent Proclamations suspending many of Hawai‘i environmental and cultural protections.

Statement of Robert D. Harris, Director of the Sierra Club, Hawaii Chapter:

Recently, Governor Abercromibe used his emergency executive powers to suspend many of Hawaii’s enviornmental and cultural laws. Conservation Council for Hawai‘i, Friends of Lana‘i, Hawai‘i’s Thousand Friends, KAHEA: The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance, Life of the Land, Malama Kauai, Na Kupuna Moku O Keawe, and the Sierra Club, Hawai‘i Chapter have jointly issued a letter expressing concern that Abercrombie’s administration is misusing its emergency power. While Governor Abercrombie’s administration may have been well-intentioned, it was ill-advised to suspend statutes that directly protect the public from harm. Waiver of Hawaii’s legal protections — whether they be procurement, cultural, environmental, or other — undermines public goals of transparency, accountability, and community invovlement. It also puts the public at risk of harm. Laws governing clean water, clean air, and hazardous materials all exist for a reason.

The rationale used by the Abercrombie adminstration to evade State regulations — the threat of speculative harm to the public — could wrongly justify numerous projects. At its core, virtually every governmental action is designed to protect the public. The scope of the Governor’s emergency powers is not so broad, however. The Governor cannot pick and choose what actions will comply with the law.

The eight community groups asked Governor Abercrombie to reassess the appropriateness of issuing these proclamations and withdraw them immediately.

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