By Robert Duerr
In the Kumulipo, the sacred Hawaiian creation text, there is no mention of The Nature Conservancy (TNC). Kamapu’a, half pua’a (pig) and half man, however has a featured role as a powerful force and Pele lover. With the DLNR chair nomination of the Nature Conservancy’s executive director, Suzanne Case, hunters, fishermen and gatherers want to know if preservation tactics, like the eradication of the pua’a, will continue to remove food and tradition from Hawaii’s land and waters.
To his credit Ige understood that DLNR is first and foremost a real estate development and leasing agency responsible for 1.3 million acres of state land and 3 million acres of state ocean waters so Ching could work. This with a meager 1% of the state for a total budget of $98.7 million.
Then there is the added responsibility of managing 2 million acres of conservation district lands, water supply, fisheries, game animals, parks, reefs, endangered species, and Hawaii?s historic and cultural sites. This with 834 employees on a payroll totaling $39 million is daunting task has often been an exercise in futility.
Ching soon felt the slings and arrows of criticism because he was seen conflicted as a both real estate professional and lobbyist for Castle-Cooke. Twenty environmental groups, including Sierra Club and the Outdoor Circle, surrounded wagons while a 7,500 MoveOn petition and a caustic nine hour hearing pelted Ching’s nomination into oblivion. Read the rest of this entry »