Standing room only at the PLDC hearing
Standing room only at the PLDC hearing

REPORT FROM THE OUTDOOR CIRCLE – Gov. Neil Abercrombie reluctantly signed H.B. 1333 into law to end the Public Lands Development Corporation before the close of 2013 legislative session.

As Hawai‘i’s 2013 Legislature convened in January, The Outdoor Circle was immediately involved in identifying and tracking bills that relate to our mission of keeping Hawai`i “Clean, Green and Beautiful” for future generations.

Even before session began it was clear that the most pressing issue facing lawmakers would be repealing or amending the highly controversial Public Lands Development Corporation. Hundreds of people across the state turned out for PLDC rule-making hearings (pictured), calling for the repeal of the new law. The PLDC was controversial because it granted the authority to enter into public-private development agreements whose skids would be greased by exemptions from the environmental reviews required to protect Hawai`i’s beauty and natural resources.

By the time the 2013 Legislature opened its doors a dozen or more bills had been introduced to severely modify and outright repeal the PLDC. Many authored and supported by lawmakers who previously created the PLDC monster.

As the PLDC bills made their way through the process, TOC collaborated with legislators, other organizations and individual advocates to ensure a unified approach to PLDC-related legislation. In the end, only one bill survived unamended and on the Governor’s desk. House Bill 1133: signed. The PLDC: done.

TOC staff initially reviewed more than 2500 House and Senate bills and identified approximately 100 for further review by the Public Affairs Committee. The PA committee met to prioritize the “watch list.” Bills marked as priorities have been closely followed with testimony submitted and/or presented on numerous bills relating to the PLDC and PLDC “offspring,” Complete Streets, Trails and Greenways Program Development, HCDA Rules, Landscaping of Iolani Palace, Wind Generation and Undersea Cable Development and many others.

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