Senate Land and Water Committee Approves Kaluhiwa as DLNR Deputy Chair

 The Senate Committee on Water and Land has voted , 7-0, to send Kekoa Kaluhiwa, Governor Ige’s pic for deputy chair of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, on to the full Senate with a positive recommendation.  Those who opposed often emphasized Kluhiwa’s previous jobs as a lobbyist for the shipping industry; one asked, for instance, if Kaluhiwa would recuse himself on any matters related to land leases for GMO seed crops, since his former employers profited from shipping seed corn. But Kaluhiwa’s credentials as a former Kamehameha Schools land manager involved with conservation issues may have outweighed his lobbyist background in the senator’s minds; even Puna’s Russell Ruderman and committee chair Laura Thielen, among the harshest critics of Carleton Ching,  Ige’s fallen nominee for DLNR Chair, voted in favor of Kaluhiwa.  For more background on Kaluhiwa, see our earlier story, “DLNR Hearings, Round 2.”

Mauna Kea Protest Escalates

The protest on Mauna Kea has apparently escalated into a direct confrontation.

Protestors against the Thirty Meter Telescope, which was scheduled to begin construction last week, have been camping out on the mountain since last Tuesday.   During that time, it’s been a quiet standoff; one protestor told the Chronicle last night that when he began videoing on Tuesday, construction work stopped, and since then had not resumed.  But today apparently workers tried to resume their work and sporadic videos from the mountain appear to show protestors forming a blockade line and police confronting  them.

If so, that marks a dramatic  ratcheting up of the conflict.

According Lanakila Mangauil, the first roadblock that occurred as not put up by the protestors.  He said that when he first came up the mountain on Tuesday, the road to the summit was blocked, so he walked up to the building site. passing tractor-trailers on their way down that had apparently delivered heavy construction equipment to the summit.  But when he began videoing the work crews, he said, work ceased: As soon as my camera came out, they simply stopped working and packed up and left. That was still only maybe around eleven or noon.”

Since then, he said, small groups have maintained a vigil on the road,sign-waving but allowing vehicles to pass and chatting with those who wanted to talk.

‘Sometimes they stop and roll down their windows, and if so we’ll come up to them, but if not, we’ll just let them by,” he said.  The number of participants–“protectors,” they call themselves, as opposed to “protesters,” was relatively small, said Mangauil: “a handful of people at a time, but hundreds of people have come through.”

“Sleeping overnight there were about five of us. During the day there were about a dozen to twenty people,” said Leina’ala Sleightholm, another participant. She noted that not just Hawaiians, but people of other ancestry had come up to support the protection of the mountain. “I think it’s a beautiful thing to see all our people gathered together with aloha for our mauna.”

Both Mangauil and Sleightholm said they wanted to see the telescope stopped–“I don’t even want the foundation to be put down. Just to stop it completely as it is now,” said Sleightholm.  But they emphasized education. Aside from the sacredness of the mountain to Hawaiians, Mangauil noted “The misuse and dishonesty of our government and how they have pushed this project around without obeying the laws.’  The project, he maintained, was in blatant violation of eight criteria that were supposed to be observed for any activity in a conservation area. “Any second grader could look at those criteria and what’s going on and see that they do not match up,” he said.  He also noted that when he he first arrived on the mountain, construction work was taking place even though the  site’s archeologist was “resting in her vehicle.  When the archeologist isn’t on site, he maintained, work was supposed to stop.

Supporters maintain that the 18-story-tall telescope will be the largest and most advanced in the world.  But construction has already begun in Chile  on the European Extremely Large Telescope, whose light collecting surface will be 39 meters wide.



Artist Opportunity: First Ever Artist in Residence Sought for Gettysburg National Historical Park

For the first time in its history, the Gettysburg National Historical Military Park is seeking an Artist in Residence to spend at least a month this summer living and working in the park.  But they apparently have had trouble getting the word out: the deadline to apply has been extended to April  15, 2013.Those interested can apply at!apply-/c1as3
For more information go to or e-mail   

Big Quake Hits Papua New Guinea; Small Waves Predicted as Far as NW Hawaiian Islands

A massive, 7.6-7.7 magnitude earthquake has hit Papua New Guinea. Tsunami waves of 1-3 meters in height are predicted for the Papua New Guinea coast, and waves of .3 meters or less could reach Australia, Japan, the Phillipines, New Caledonia, the northern Marianas, Guam, Palau, Yap, Pohnpei, Chuuk, Kosrae, the Marshall Islands, Fiji, Samoa American Samoa, the Cook Islands, Tokelau, Vanuatu, Kiribati, Nauru, Wake Island, Johnston Island, Howland and Baker Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Wallis and Futuna Islands, the Solomon Chain, Indonesia and the Northwest Hawaiian Islands.  There is no tsunami warning for the Main Hawaiian Islands at this time.

Forbes: Honolulu is Nation’s “Most Overpriced City.”

Forbes Magazine has confirmed what most of us already suspected:  Honolulu is the most “overpriced” city in the U.S.

Forbes rated the 100 largest U.S. metropolitan areas–i.e., the cities and their suburbs–with populations of over 600,000, on four criteria: median family income,  the Housing Opportunity Index for the fourth quarter of 2014–in other words, how much a home might cost, on average during that period; the percentage of available housing that was affordable to a family with median income, and the cost above the national average of groceries, utilities, transportation, health care and  “miscellaneous” goods and services. Honolulu’s stats:

Median Family Income:$82,600

Q4 2014 median sales price:$509,000

Housing affordable at median family income: 35.3%

Cost Above National Average:

Groceries:55.3%; Utilities:77.8%; Transportation: 26.7%; Health:15.7%; Misc.: 22.5%

The top four overpriced urban areas, after Honolulu, were mostly in the Northeastern U.S.:  the Bridgeford/Stanford/Norwalk metropolitan complex in Southern Connecticut;  Boston, MA; New York, NY and Cambridge, MA.  San Francisco and Oakland took the No. 6 and No. 7 spots.

EIS Proposes Expansion of Whale Sanctuary

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has released a new Environmental Impact Statement that  proposes to expand the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary 235 square miles–about 17 percent– and shifting to an “ecosystem-based management system: in other words, it would shift from managing only humpback whales to looking at the health of the entire marine ecosystem in the whale’s winter range around the Hawaiian Islands. The EIS wachanging the name of the expanded sanctuary to “Hawaiian Islands National Marine Sanctuary – Na Kai ‘Ewalu”

The EIS  recommends establishing new sanctuary boundaries around Ni‘ihau, extending the sanctuary boundary to Ali‘i Beach on the North Shore of O‘ahu, aligning the boundary with the ahupua‘as of Ha‘en and Pila‘a on Kaua‘i, and extending the sanctuary around the ledgeson the south end of Penguin Bank.

The sanctuary was originally established by the U.S. Congress in 1992.  Since 1998, it has been co-managed by NOAA and the State of Hawaii.  Any modifications to the management plan would have to be approved by Governor Ige, according to a press release by the Governor’s office.  The Environmental Impact Statement notes that the State Department of Land and Natural Resources “serves as the lead agency in administering the co-management of the sanctuary.”

“The State strongly encourages people to comment on the plan. We will be evaluating public input and reviewing the draft management plan, draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and proposed regulations in light of what’s best for Hawaii’s public trust resources and for our communities,” said Interim Chair Carty Chang of the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

According to the whale sanctuary’s official site, it will conduct public hearing meetings in communities across the State of Hawai‘i from April 27, 2015 to May 6, 2015. However according to, a meeting on the new rules will take place at  Kealakehe High School Cafeteria, 74-5000 Puohulihuli Street, Kailua-Kona, from 5:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m on May 7.  The Chronicle is looking into the discrepancy.

Public comments can be submitted online at:!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NOS-2015-0028 or via “snail mail” to the following address:

NOS/ONMS/Malia Chow
1845 Wasp Blvd., Bldg 176
Honolulu, HI 96818

The deadline for receiving comments is June 19, 2015.


New Web Site Tracks Traffic in Lower Puna

Something good may have come out of the long lava crisis in Lower Puna.  On March 25, the same day that Hawaiian Volcano Observatory lowered the volcano threat level from “Warning” to “Watch,” the County of Hawaii opened a new Web site:, a free Web based traffic monitoring service for Lower Puna’s Pahoa to Kea`au traffic corridor.  The site is designed to provide commuters with up-to-date information on “Traffic conditions along several transportation corridors that may be affected by the June 27th Lava Flow, including HWY 130.”  The site accesses 30 traffic cameras that refresh their images every three to five minutes.  Color codes on a map tell commuters which sections of the corridor between Kea’au and Pahoa  have “Free Flow,” “Moderate Traffic,” “Heavy Traffic,” or “Stop and Go” conditions.  The “dashboard” page of the site gives estimated travel times for each of eight sections of highway 130 between its junction on  Kahakai Blvd. in Pahoa to its junction with Milo Street, about midway along  and Kea`aua-Pahoa Bypass.  The site also includes live feeds to several cameras monitoring conditions on the lava flows themselves. Icons on the site’s traffic map inform viewers about the locations of traffic incidents, traffic congestion, road construction, adverse weather conditions and “special events.”

“The traffic monitoring system is a part of the County’s overall plan to monitor
traffic flow that may have to be re-routed as a result of the June 27 Lava Flow”  said a press release from the county about the new Web site.  It noted that  “The cameras are government property and specifically programmed to only work
with government equipment. Please kokua and respect this public benefit and

The site also has a page containing links to the Web pages and social media connnections for various state and county agencies, from Hawaii State and County Civil Defense agencies and the Department of Education official sites to Mayor Billy Kenoi’s Twitter feed.

HVNP Summit Stewardship Programs Need Volunteers

From Jessica Ferracane at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park:

Hawaii National Park, Hawai‘i – Help protect the native Hawaiian rainforest at the summit of K?lauea by volunteering for “Stewardship at the Summit” programs in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, now through June 2015.

Stewardship at the Summit begins at 9 a.m. and ends at noon. The dates from April through June are: April 2, 11, 17, and 24; May 1, 8, 20 and 30; and June 5, 13, and 19.

Volunteers help remove invasive, non-native plant species that prevent native species from growing. Meet project leaders Paul and Jane Field at K?lauea Visitor Center at 9 a.m. on any of the above dates. Wear sturdy hiking shoes and long pants. Bring a hat, rain gear, day pack, snacks and water. Gloves and tools are provided. No advance registration is required, and there is no cost to participate, but park entrance fees apply.

Volunteers have dedicated 4,271 hours of their time, and have restored more than 25 acres of native rainforest within the national park, since 2012. Countless Himalayan ginger, faya, strawberry guava, and other invasive, non-native plants that threaten the native understory near the summit of K?lauea volcano have been removed. In their place, once-shaded ‘ama‘u and h?pu‘u tree ferns have re-emerged, and pa‘iniu, k?wa‘u, and other important native plants are returning to the stewardship plots.

DLNR Confirmation Hearings, Round 2….

Governor Ige’s nomination of Carleton Ching to run the Department of Land and Natural Resources went down in flames a few days ago, with Ige withdrawing Ching’s name after a flood of negative testimony and a straw vote that demonstrated that Ching couldn’t be confirmed by the full Senate. Now it’s the turn of Ige’s pick for Deputy to the Chairperson of DLNR, Kekoa Kaluhiwa, who is also controversial.

At 2:45 p.m. tomorrow, Kaluhiwa’s nomination goes before the Senate Committee on Water and Land, whose negative recommendation of Ching was a major nail in Ching’s coffin. But  Kaluhiwa’s resume raises some of the same alarm bells that went off for conservationists re Ching’s nomination.  Like Ching, Kaluhiwa has been a lobbyist–in Kaluhiwa’s case, for Horizon Lines, where, among other duties, he assisted company executives in strategizing campaign contributions and necessary reporting to the Campaign Spending Commission” and “assisted in monitoring bills relating to the maritime industry.  He also served as a registered lobbyist for Young Brothers during the 2014 legislative session, when “primary bills of interest related to invasive species protection and possible restructuring of the Public Utilities Commission.”  NextEra Energy also employed him for public relations work related to the PUC:he was “retained to assist with community relations efforts specific to the development of an electric transmission cable between Oahu and Maui.  Since the PUC did not allow that projec tmove forward, he says, he did not actually “conduct any community outreach,” although he did attend some public meetings related to the project.  He claim he did not “participate in or have knowledge of” any of NextEra’s other Hawaii-related projects, including its proposed purchase of HECO and HELCO.

But Kaluhiwa says his undergraduate course work continued courses not only in  “political science, management theory” and “economics,” but also in “climate change, land tenure and wildlife management.” He also points to his 11 years of service with U. S. Senator Daniel Akaka and his Hawaiia heritage as assets he could use at the DLNR.  As a graduate intern with the Land Assets Division of Kamehameha Schools, he worked on hunting issues an feral ungulate control, two areas with which the DLNR is also heavily involved.  To monitor and or testify on Kaluhiwa’s hearing, click here.

Also up for consideration before the Water and Land Committee tomorrow are three less controversial appointments: Ige’s naming of Keith Downing, Ulalia Woodside and  Christopher Yuen to the Board of Land and Natural Resources.  To monitor and/or testify on those nominations, click on the links attached to their names.


Letter: The Crisis is Over; Bring Back Lower Puna Grade-Schoolers

Dearest Anyone Who Cares About The School Children Of Lower Puna:

I noticed in the Hawaii Trib-Herald story this morning, the “schools”  that relocated children plan to keep their current arrangements for the rest of the school year.  Now, in addition to the little kids from Pahoa and Keonepoko being kept in little pods in Keaau, taking field trips to the bathroom, and hanging out with high schoolers for another 3 months, due to preemptive forced evacuation, some other information has been imparted which you should consider now rather that making everyone suffer through the end of the school year because you can.

It was just  brought to my attention that since the mayor reinstated Section 8 housing in lower Puna, lots of folks have moved back, and their kids which should be going to Keonepoko have to go to Pahoa School, and now there are so many little kids in Pahoa School, the older elementary kids are now in classrooms on the high school side, not with their elementary school friends, and exposed to the problems inherent in our high schools.

Why don’t you in charge just take a few days or over the weekend, and open up Keonepoko, and let the kids all go back where they belong???  Why do you make them, their parents and the teachers, stay unnecessarily???  The lava has not really been a threat for awhile now.  Could it because you spent way too much money in your panic, and now the kids and parents and teachers have to suffer until the DOE get’s off its okole and decides it is time?  If it is not this, than please clarify your reasons for keeping the children where they are for many more months, and please clarify it to the students, teachers, parents and caring community members in writing and in the newspaper, so everyone can know the real reason and try to come to grips with this new “dire emergency” method of dealing with Pele our government is testing out on us in lower Puna..

With Love,

Sara Steiner

Hawaii Volcano Observatory Downgrades Alert: Any New Threat from Lava Probably “Months Away.”

Hawaii Volcano Observatory has now downgraded the volcano alert level for Kilauea from “Warning” to “watc”h. The  flows near Pahoa are now considered “inactive,” though lava continues to erupt from four breakouts nearer to Pu’u O’o,

“Because the immediate threat from the June 27th lava flow has been reduced, we are reducing the alert level,” read the observatory’s latest update. “Presently, the only active surface lava occurs in four separate breakouts from the main lava tube within three areas in the upper 6 km (4 mi) of the flow field below the Pu’u O’o vent. Lava from these breakouts is moving slowly atop earlier flows and along the margin of the June 27th and the Kahauale’a (2013-2014) flow fields. Based on the rate and trajectory of these active flows, we anticipate that it will be at least months before lava could reach to within 1 mile or 1 week of homes or infrastructure.” At that point, depending on which breakout becomes dominant and on the flows not shutting off entirely, then lava could again threaten either the Hawaiian Acres/Ainaloa area or Pahoa itself.

Hawaii County Civil Defense said there was “little activity in the down slope areas. ” It said the current breakouts “extend from an area approximately 8 miles upslope of the stalled flow fronts to the summit area of Pu’u O’o.”

The ultimate trajectory and path of the lava flow depends on how lava activity evolves in these areas.

But there are important caveats: “At this time, reoccupation of the lava tube that fed lava flows toward the Pahoa Marketplace area is unlikely. Should this occur, however, delivery of lava farther downslope to the currently inactive extent of the June 27th lava flow field could happen more quickly, perhaps within weeks.”  The update also notes,  “This assessment is based on continued lava production at Pu’u O’o at current eruption rates and vent location. Should the eruption rate increase significantly or the locus of eruption shift to a new vent, the conditions of lava flow advance and associated threat could change quickly.”

Commentary: Water Resource Protection Plan Meetings Tonight in Kona, Monday in Hilo

If you care about your water – you may want to attend…..


KONA: March 24 – West Hawaii Civic Center, Rm. next to the ‘rotunda’ 6:30pm

HILO: March 30 – Aupuni Center – 101 Pauahi Street, Suite 1 6:30pm

Additional information can be found at:…/planning/hiwaterplan/wrpp/wrpp2014/

via Janice Palma-Glennie

The outcome of these meetings will affect everyone in Hawai`i.

In Kona, there is huge future demand for water. Nothing in the existing Water Resources Protection Plan (WRPP) — the topic of the meetings — directly mentions or protects the ecological and cultural significance of our near shore natural and cultural resources.

The WRPP is one part of the “Hawai`i Water Plan” that was established by the State Water Code. It was created as part of the code with the idea that careful planning would allow the Water Commission, as Trustees of the Public Trust in Water, to first ensure that water was protected, while allowing careful and proper development of water for economic use.

This code/plan is supposed to be updated every five years. The last time the WRPP was updated was in 2008.

The Water Resources Protection Plan (WRPP) is the keystone of the “Hawai`i Water Plan”. It is where the commission sets sustainable yields for groundwater; where it is supposed to establish policies for the protection of Public Trust uses of water, including leaving water in its natural state for recreational uses and the perpetuation of the Traditional and Customary Practices of Native Hawaiians. All the other parts of the plan are supposed to rely on the WRPP for guidance. These parts include the Agricultural Water Use and Development Plan (the plan for water needs for agriculture), the Water Quality Protection Plan (to protect water quality statewide), the State Water Projects Plan (providing water for state facilities like schools, airports, DHHL), and the all important County Water Use and Development Plans (where the Counties plan out how they will develop water for future growth while protecting public trust uses of water).

If an important use of water is not listed and protected in the Water Resources Protection Plan, the other plans will not mention nor protect it.

The Water Commission staff will be asking people to bring up their “one issue” that they are concerned about, and then break into small groups to discuss items. Based on the feedback from these meetings, they will be preparing a draft document. Now is a great time to speak up for our public trust interests in water.

Potential talking points:

Describe how you use or enjoy resources up and down the coast (e.g. coral reefs and fish that are adapted to fresh water flows, swimming / surfing in clean water, etc).
Talk about your concern for the future of the resources and the community that depends on them.

Mention that the calculation of sustainable yield has no scientific basis for determining how much and where water should continue to flow from mauka to makai.

Tell them their plans need to have proactive tasks to implement: the days should be long gone when the Water Commission can just sit back, waiting for a complaint from the community or when a problem has reached a crisis point .

Mahalo and hope to see you there,
Janice Palma-Glennie

Moku Loa Group -Sierra Club, Surfrider Foundation Big Island Hawai`i Chapter – Kona Kai Ea, Surfrider Hilo Chapter, Surfrider Foundation Hilo Chapter

Kitchen Fire Injures Volcano House Employee

Hawaii National Park, Hawai‘i – An Volcano House employee suffered burns to his upper arms after a kitchen fire at Volcano House in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park Tuesday morning.

Park rangers, Hawaii County medics and firefighters responded to reports of the fire at around 10:30 a.m. The employee, Tony Pothul, was transported to Hilo Medical Center by ambulance, and later evacuated by air to O`ahu, where he was listed in stable condition.

Both The Rim restaurant and Uncle George’s Lounge in Volcano House will be temporarily closed as National Park Service investigators determine the cause of the small blaze, according to Hawai‘i Volcanoes Lodge Company, LLC general manager David Macilwraith. The hotel management plans to reopen both restaurants Thursday. The Volcano House hotel remains open.


Commentary: House Budget Guts Funding for Key DLNR Programs


Aloha, everyone,
In the last few weeks, I thought it became apparent to everyone that the Department of Land and Natural Resources is seriously underfunded given its mandate to protect our land, water, cultural and natural resources, and Hawaiian sites for our people and future generations.

I guess I was wrong! The state House of Representatives recently passed its budget bill, HB 500 HD 1, and eliminated or reduced funding for several important DLNR programs described below. HB 500 HD 1 crossed over to the Senate, where it will be heard by Ways and Means any day now. We hope critical funding for DLNR programs will be replaced by the Senate or House and Senate negotiators in conference committee.

We Need Your Kokua Now!

1. Please call both your state representative and your state senator as soon as possible, say that you live in their district, and politely urge them to restore drastic cuts to the DLNR’s budget in budget bill HB 500 HD 1. If you would like to provide specific information, ask them to include the following:

* $13m for the Natural Area Reserve Fund, $6.8m in the Legacy Land Fund, and $6.3m in the Forest Stewardship Fund (all of which are supported by conveyance tax revenues that are at historic highs because of the booming residential and commercial real estate markets (which put added pressure on natural resources like fresh water);

* $6m in general funds for Hawai‘i Invasive Species Council programs;

* $750,000 for wildlife and emergency response equipment for DLNR;

* Funding for the Division of Conservation and Resourc Enforcement, (DOCARE), DLNR for community fisheries enforcement units on Kaua‘i, O‘ahu, Maui, and Hawai‘i

* Funding for the Division of Aquatic Resources, DLNR, for the Humpback Whale Sanctuary State Co-Manager and for Community-based Subsistence Fisheries Area Planner and Marine Regulation and Policy Specialist to support community-based marine management like H?‘ena, P?p?kea, Mo‘omomi, Ka‘?p?lehu, etc.

2. After you call your state representative and state senator, please email all representatives and senators at and and politely urge them to do the same as above.

3. Share this Kokua Alert with others and ask them to contact their representatives and senators. Mahalo nui loa!

FYI: Here is a summary of the drastic cuts to the DLNR’s budget in HB 500 HD 1:

– Natural Area Reserve Fund – Governor’s FY16 request of $13m spending authority; House reduced to $0 (the FY15 spending authority for the NAR Fund had been $8m)

– Legacy Land Conservation Fund – Governor’s FY16 request of $6.8m spending authority; House reduced to $0 (the FY15 spending authority had been $5.1m)

– Forest Stewardship Fund – Governor’s FY16 request of $6.3m spending authority; House reduced to $5m (the same level as the FY15)

– Hawai?i Invasive Species Council programs – Governor’s FY16 request of $4m general funds; House reduced to $0 (the FY15 Legislature provided $5.75m to HISC programs)

– Native Resources & Fire Protection – Governor’s request for $750,000 in general funds for needed wildfire and emergency response equipment was denied by the House.

– DOCARE – NO funding included in the House budget for:

o Community Fisheries Enforcement Units on Kaua‘i, O‘ahu, Maui, and Hawai‘i

o Makai Watch Coordinator

– Division of Aquatic Resources – NO funding included in the House budget for:

o Humpback Whale Sanctuary State Co-Manager

o Community-based Subsistence Fisheries Area Planner and Marine Regulation and Policy Specialist to support community-based marine management like Haena, Pupukea, Mo`omomi, Ka‘upulehu, etc.

Footnote: The NAR Fund and Forest Stewardship Fund use conveyance tax revenue to manage forest and watershed resources through the State Natural Area Reserves (mostly ceded land), Forest Reserves, Watershed Partnerships, Natural Area and Forest Stewardship partnerships with private landowners, and the Hawai‘i Youth Conservation Corps. The Legacy Land Fund provides State matching funds to purchase and protect cultural, natural, agricultural, historical, and recreational resource lands. The Hawai‘i Invasive Species Council provides funding for critical invasive species prevention, eradication, control, research, and education programs.

House of Representatives Contact Information (To find your state representative, go to

–Marjorie Ziegler,
Kaneohe, O`ahu
Editor’s Note: Marjorie Ziegler is the executive director of the Conservation Council of Hawaii