HONOLULU, HAWAII – Today the Hawaii Chapter of the Sierra Club, the state’s largest environmental grassroots organization with over 12,000 members and supporters, unveiled a campaign to repeal the Public Lands Development Corporation (PLDC). Based on the concerns raised by thousands of worried residents, the Sierra Club is encouraging legislators to publicly commit to repealing the PLDC.
The PLDC was created by Act 55 in 2011, with the express purpose of developing public lands to generate additional revenue for the state. Countless individuals and organzations have expressed concern about the law’s no-bid contract provisions, the slant towards developing public resources instead of conservation, and the creation of a semi-autonomous agency exempted from routine oversight of state and county government. Many of the more controversial aspects of the law were added at the end of session with a two-hour hearing notice to the public (see this blog post for more information).
“The Sierra Club and its members have gone to great lengths to work with the PLDC, including proposing ways to reasonably improve the draft administrative rules,” said Robert D. Harris, Director of the Sierra Club, Hawaii Chapter. “These suggestions have largely been ignored. With the PLDC’s recent effortsto exclude the public from commenting and the adoption of a toothless strategic plan, it appears our only alternative is to push for a repeal of the PLDC.”
“We’re encouraging our members and supporters to reach out to candidates to express their concern about the PLDC,” said Harris. “We believe our legislators listen to the public. A large number of candidates are already publicly supporting a repeal of the PLDC ,” continued Harris. “This isn’t suprising. What is surprising is how few candidates are willing to publicly support the PLDC. Candidates are starting to see the beleagured PLDC as a sinking ship.”
The Sierra Club is going further and directly supporting candidates that have taken strong positions on the PLDC. In at least three races, the Sierra Club has issued districtwide mailers in an effort to educate the public about the issues. Tens of thousands of mailers about the PLDC issue have been sent in House District race 20 (see front and back), House District race 6 (front, back), and Senate District race 25 (front and back).
“The Sierra Club is proud to support candidates that are willing to draw the line on the PLDC,” said Harris. “As a watchdog environmental organization, it is our obligation to raise the public’s awareness about the implications of this law and notify the public about the candidates who support it.”
Hawai`i Chapter of the Sierra Club
Founded in 1968, the Hawai`i Chapter of the Sierra Club is the state’s largest and most active grassroots environmental organization. The Club actively promotes reducing the impacts of global climate change by encouraging the development of clean renewable energy, reducing the use of fossil fuels, and ensuring our fragile native habitat is protected from harm. www.sierraclubhawaii.org