News, updates, finds, and stories from staff and community members at KAHEA.
Showing blog entries tagged as: ocean protection

News, updates, finds, stories, and tidbits from staff and community members at KAHEA. Got something to share? Email us at:

Turtle Bay Win!

Posted by Miwa at Apr 14, 2010 04:10 PM |

You’ve probably seen in the papers over the last few days, news of the Supreme Court win for Keep the North Shore Country and Sierra Club Hawaii Chapter. The ruling states that the 1985 EIS developed for a massive proposed development (5 hotels and 1,000 resort condos) on O’ahu’s North Shore, indeed does need an update. In addition to asserting the obvious fact that “things have changed” since the mid-1980s (for most of us, at least), the court acknowledged that the project is too big and too late for the pristine stretch of coastline along Kawela Bay.

Straight from KNSC guys:

Keep the North Shore Country is very pleased the Hawaii Supreme Court, on April 8, 2010, ordered a Supplemental EIS for the Turtle Bay Resort Expansion Plan.  We commend the Court for thoroughly reviewing the facts of the case and rendering a strong opinion on the need for an updated environmental review 25 years after the original report was completed in 1985.

We are very appreciative of the enormous support of residents on the North Shore, throughout the state of Hawaii and around the world who passionately cheered us on.  Everyone knew that this was the classic case where an SEIS should be required and the Court came down forcefully on the mistakes made by the Honolulu City & County Department of Planning and Permitting and the lower courts for their erroneous interpretation of the law.

Without the numerous donations, large and small, from concerned supporters, we would not have been able to mount this vigorous and ultimately successful campaign.  The cost of fighting city hall is staggering, but we were successful because of the stellar work by many people, not the least of whom are our attorneys.

To everyone who believed in us and to everyone who helped make it happen, MAHALO!

See more on their website at

Amazing Turn-out, But Commission Disappoints.

Posted by Miwa at Feb 18, 2010 06:28 PM |

On the morning of Thursday, February 4th, the State Land Use Commission hearing was a packed house–wall to wall green shirts as over 60 people literally “stood up” for protecting some of O’ahu’s last wild shoreline.

After 23 years of inaction by developers, Defend Oahu Coalition filed a motion with the State Land Use Commission asking why 236 acres of the property should continue to be classified as an urban district. Today, developers want to use this decades-old agreement, forcing their massive new development on the rural Koolauloa/North Shore community–one that is wrong for this rural area and wrong for our time.

In spite of a day packed with passionate testimony, the overwhelming failure by numerous developers to meet their promises, the LUC again failed to reach a decision. Sigh.  See portions of the day’s events by clicking here

From our friends at Defend Oahu Coalition:

Defend Oahu Coalition would like to express our sincere appreciation for all who came to the Land Use Commission hearing yesterday in the strongest showing of support we have seen yet for Keeping the Country COUNTRY. As you may have already heard, despite a room full of green shirts, passionate testimony throughout the day, the overwhelming evidence of failure by numerous developers at Turtle Bay Resort to keep their promises, and a clear mandate to rule under State Land Use Law, the LUC failed to reach a decision. After nearly two years and six separate hearings, the commissioners once again decided to call it quits and kick the can down the road.

In 1986, the resort company asked that this agricultural land be reclassified as “urban/resort” in exchange for jobs, affordable housing, and parks to benefit the community. The project never materialized, and neither did these benefits. The developers never acted, and their agreement with the State seemingly expired. Over twenty years passed, with different owners, different management and different developers promising jobs, parks, and affordable housing. All while undeveloped open spaces continued to dwindle, and traffic problems escalated.

Today, despite overwhelming public protest, Kuilima Resort Company Kuilima Resort Company (KRC) and its parent company Los Angeles- based Oaktree Capital Management is pressing forward to expand their Turtle Bay Resort with five new hotels and 1,000 luxury condos on Oahuʻs rural North Shore.

Returning the land to its original “agriculture” classification would allow the Turtle Bay Resort to continue operations, but would send a strong message to speculators and overseas developers that they must keep promises that they make to the people of Hawaii. The Turtle Bay Resort has recently been marketed as a rural get-away and is today doing better business than most Waikiki hotels. The LUC should return these acres and protect them as rural agricultural lands. You can find information about upcoming meetings and hearings at Defend Oahu’s website.

Twenty-three years is more than enough time! You can support the Defend Oahu Coalition motion with just one click!

Mahalo to Snorkel Bob!

Posted by Miwa at Jan 18, 2010 07:05 PM |

Together with the Center for Biological Diversity and the Turtle Island Restoration Network, we  filed suit in December in Federal District Court against the National Marine Fisheries Service, to challenge a new rule allowing expansion of the Hawaii longline swordfish fishery—with a dramatic increase in allowable take of threatened and endangered sea turtles. The plaintiffs are represented by the amazing attorneys over at Earthjustice.

A week later, the Snorkel Bob Foundation of Hawaii pledged $10,000 to sponsor that litigation.

Robert Wintner, Executive Director of the Snorkel Bob Foundation, said, “The opening line of our mission statement stipulates that we will defend against incidental kill of marine species, so this litigation is compulsory for us. Earthjustice is not a conservation outfit soliciting grant money and selling vague concepts. It’s a results-oriented law firm that we’re proud to support. Beyond that, the plaintiffs in this case—KAHEA, Turtle Island Restoration Network and the Center for Biodiversity are also proven achievers in the field. We know these groups and stand firmly beside them.”

Wintner added that this case will highlight outdated ocean management policy that must change to allow for ocean recovery. “The oceans can no longer provide limitless protein for growing human populations. It’s over. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is now part of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Association (NOAA). Both are in the Department of Commerce. That means ocean management is based on maximum dollar extraction and not on recovery. These agencies should be part of the Department of the Interior, where conservation and recovery are primary management factors.

“Look at the line of communication here: the president of the Hawaii Longline Association (HLA) is Shaun Martin, who is vested in the swordfish longline fishery. HLA drafted a recommendation that the swordfish fishery be expanded with a dramatic increase on incidental take of endangered turtles. Mr. Martin then delivered that recommendation to the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council (WESPAC), where he took off his HLA president hat and put on his WESPAC president hat. WESPAC then agreed that the swordfish fishery be expanded. WESPAC uses the word “conservation” more than most agencies in its communications, but its members and officers are significantly vested in commercial extraction. The WESPAC recommendation then went to NMFS, the agency authorized to process such recommendations. NMFS has a history of going along with WESPAC recommendations. This effort to blatantly override the evidence and global consensus began some time ago, with the wheels of bureaucracy grinding slowly. The Commerce Department employs thirty thousand people, and like a giant ocean liner, it does not change course quickly. Now we have a new administration agenda reflecting long-term management policies and ocean recovery. Now we go to the judicial arena, with Earthjustice representing exactly what it’s named for. I call this money well spent.”

Mahalo to “Uncle Bob” and all the amazing people over at Snorkel Bob and Snokel Bob Foundation!

Triple Sea Turtle Kill? A'ole.

Someones gotta protect the our oceans and the animals that live in it, and it sure isn’t going to be National Marine Fisheries Service…

Today, conservation groups Turtle Island Restoration Network, Center for Biological Diversity, and KAHEA, represented by Earthjustice, filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Honolulu, Hawai`i challenging a new federal rule allowing the Hawai’i-based longline swordfish fishery to catch nearly three times as many loggerhead sea turtles as was previously permitted. The lawsuit challenges a rule issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service on December 10, 2009, which allows the fishery to fish without any limitation on the amount of fishing it can do, except that it must stop if and when it catches the authorized number of turtles. Until now, there were limits on the number of longline sets that could be fished, as well as a lower number of turtles that could be taken. With the new rule, federal fishery managers have created an endangered turtle derby. Federal fishery managers project that the fishery will eventually expand to about three times the size it’s been for the past six years, leading to increased bycatch not only of turtles, but of marine mammals and sea birds as well.

To read rest of article click here

Click below to read more!

Turtle Bay Talkstory II

From Marti:

The Defend Oahu Coalition is looking to you to help keep the country country.  A developer is close to receiving the last set of permits necessary to proceed with a massive resort complex on the North Shore. Your participation can help to protect Oahu’s shorelines from construction and the rural character of this community. Take a look at their update below and please try to attend their community meeting tomorrow evening 6:30 pm at Kahuku High School Cafeteria.


Tuesday, Dec. 8th at 6:30-9:00
Kahuku High School Cafeteria

From Defend Oahu Coalition:

This is the second in a series of Community Forums regarding the future of Turtle Bay. The City’s Department of Permitting and Planning is reportedly very close to issuing final subdivision permits to the developer at Turtle Bay which will allow him to move ahead with the outdated plan for five additional hotels and one thousand more resort condominiums. The State Supreme Court is set to hear Oral Arguments regarding the Keep the North Shore Country case asking for a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement.

The existing property is formally changing owners this month, who are reportedly working on a new business model for the resort. This is a crucial time to get updated about the current situation. Efforts aimed at building on plans for preservation as well as sustainable land use enforcement at City and State levels will also be addressed.

Notable speakers invited to attend include: Governor Lingle, Representatives Abercrombie and Hirono, Mayor Hannemann, Turtle Bay Advisory Working Group Chair Bill Paty, Senator Clayton Hee, Councilmember Donovan Dela Cruz and Interim Developer for Kuilima Resort Company Stanford Carr. The moderator for the evening will be Dee Dee Letts, a member of the Ko’olauloa Neighborhood Board and longtime community activist.

Click here to learn more from the DOC.

NEW DUMP OPEN! Loc: 1,000 miles northeast of Hawaii, Pacific Ocean

The Pacific garbage patch is so large it cannot be precisely measured. It is estimated to be twice the size of Texas and  one of five in the world. Out of sight, out of mind? I think not.

Light bulbs, bottle caps, toothbrushes, Popsicle sticks and tiny pieces of plastic, each the size of a grain of rice, inhabit the Pacific garbage patch, an area of widely dispersed trash that doubles in size every decade and is now believed to be roughly twice the size of Texas. But one research organization estimates that the garbage now actually pervades the Pacific, though most of it is caught in what oceanographers call a gyre like this one — an area of heavy currents and slack winds that keep the trash swirling in a giant whirlpool.

PCBs, DDT and other toxic chemicals cannot dissolve in water, but the plastic absorbs them like a sponge. Fish that feed on plankton ingest the tiny plastic particles. Scientists from the Algalita Marine Research Foundation say that fish tissues contain some of the same chemicals as the plastic. The scientists speculate that toxic chemicals are leaching into fish tissue from the plastic they eat.

The researchers say that when a predator — a larger fish or a person — eats the fish that eats the plastic, that predator may be transferring toxins to its own tissues, and in greater concentrations since toxins from multiple food sources can accumulate in the body.

It may be out of sight, but it should be on your mind. After all, the effects could end up in your body. 

For the captain’s first mate, Jeffery Ernst, the patch was “just a reminder that there’s nowhere that isn’t affected by humanity.”

To read the rest of the article, click here

More on Turtle Bay EIS: When is old, TOO old?

Posted by Miwa at Oct 30, 2009 06:47 PM |

On Thursday, November 19, 2009 at 11:00 a.m., the Hawaii Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in Unite Here! Local 5 v. City and County of Honolulu, the case in which the Intermediate Court of Appeals held that unless the project changes, a supplemental EIS is not required under the Hawaii Environmental Policy Act, Haw. Rev. Stat. ch. 343. The application for writ of certiorari asked the court to review this Question Presented:

Under HRS Chapter 343 an its enabling rules, is a supplemental environmental review required when there are significant changes to a project’s circumstances, such as increased environmental and community impacts, or are supplemental reviews limited solely to changes in project design?

The application for writ of certiorari and opposing and amici briefs in the case thus far are posted here.

The ICA’s opinion is reported at 120 Haw. 457, 209 P.3d 1271 (Haw. Ct. App. 2008), and is posted here. The briefs filed in the ICA are posted here.

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