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Controversial nominee withdraws from Senate confirmation process

Genevieve Salmonson

A spokesperson for Gov. Neil Abercrombie confirmed Monday evening that the governor's nominee for director of the Office of Environmental Quality Control, Genevieve Salmonson, has withdrawn from the confirmation process just hours before her confirmation hearing.

"Ms. Salmonson withdrew her nomination due to personal reasons. The Governor respects her wish to withdraw and thanks her for interest in serving," said Louise Kim McCoy, Director of Communications for the Office of the Governor.

Salmonson's confirmation hearing was set for 10 a.m. Tuesday, October 29.

The Sierra Club-Hawaii Chapter led a campaign to defeat Salmonson's confirmation by the state Senate, maintaining the office "suffered from a clear lack of quality leadership" under her tenure.

“It (the office) has been unable to pass administrative rules in over a decade and has not substantively updated Hawaii's environmental review laws in years,” Harris said in an email to members. “Ms. Salmonson, who has served in this office previously for two terms, cannot provide the leadership needed nor inspire public confidence in her ability to fairly hear and resolve environmental concerns.”

Salmonson served in this role under two previous governors, Gov. Ben Cayetano, a Democrat, and Gov. Linda Lingle, a Republican. After her terms ended, former State Senator Gary Hooser took the position until he was elected to the Kauai County Council.

The governor’s spokeswoman, Louise Kim McCoy, said on October 25 that the governor continued to support Salmonson and her appointment because she was qualified and had the necessary experience.

McCoy said in since there concerns were raised about her nomination, the Governor's Office has been engaged in discussions with Senators to determine their level of support.

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