Esther Kiaaina
Esther Kiaaina

REPORT FROM KIAAINA CONGRESSIONAL CAMPAIGN – Esther Kiaaina, a Democrat in the race for Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District, offered a broad look at her stance on environmental issues in a speech on Wednesday, outlining a series of priorities to help steer the state in a desirable direction.

The speech afforded a clear view of her position on such issues as alternative energy, land conservation and climate change.

“We all have a moral responsibility to protect our environment and preserve our land and natural resources, including our oceans and coral reefs,” Kiaaina said.

In her remarks, she also expressed support for federal regulatory agencies, acknowledging their roles in “clean air, clean water, safe drinking water, threatened and endangered species, responsible solid waste management, and historic preservation.”

In addition, she characterized global climate change as real, saying that ‘if there is any place in the world that can speak with authority to this issue it is Hawaii and the rest of our Pacific island neighbors as it pertains to sea level rise, rising temperatures, beach and coastal erosion and coral reef bleaching.”

As a priority, she said alternative energy is necessary, given Hawaii’s heavy dependence on imported oil, which is costing the state an estimated $7 billion annually. “Whether it’s exploration of geothermal, solar, ocean thermal, wind, or other forms of alternative energy, what we must remember is that such exploration cannot be done without compliance with state and federal environmental laws as well as community input where a project will have a disproportionate social and environmental impact on that community,” Kiaaina said.

Kiaaina added that during her stint as a Congressional advisor in Washington, D.C., she worked closely with federal agencies on conservation issues such as ocean and coral reef protection. “I am committed to continue my work with them, if elected,” Kiaaina said. “I support preserving new lands for federal protection. I am also committed to combating the threat of alien or invasive species, whether it be the brown tree snake from Guam, miconia, or pests that are hurting our agricultural industry.”

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