Anti-development group makes headway
Whether they’re writing environmental agencies to protect Hawaiian monk seals or asking county council members to restructure hearing schedules, the group of people who meet every Tuesday at Kulana `Oiwi are focused on one thing: halting the proposed development of La`au Point and the irreversible environmental impacts that would come with it.
Their most recent efforts, writing letters to request an extension to the comment period of Molokai Ranch’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), have recently proven successful with the ranch adding an additional 17 days to the 45 day process.
The ranch’s DEIS is an integral part of the corporation’s plan to develop La`au Point. Locals like Bridget Mowat have come together at weekly meetings to sift through and make sense of the more-than 800 page document. They are intent on assessing the documents thoroughness and accuracy as to what environmental, social, and cultural impacts the planned development will have on Molokai’s community.
Mowat printed all 800-plus single sided pages from her home computer explaining that the online version of the DEIS was difficult to read and make notes on. Given the limited duration of time for review, she said she could not afford to wait for a bound copy to arrive through the mail.
Many people at the meetings admit that they have a limited understanding of both the commenting process and the DEIS prompting organizers to explain and discuss the state environmental review process in detail.
Those who want to know more about DEIS commenting process can download a free guidebook at www.state.hi.us/health/oeqc/publications/guidebook.pdf as well as attend the weekly meetings at Kulana `Oiwi every Tuesday night at 5 p.m.
The recently revised comment period for the ranch’s DEIS is February 23. Comments can be submitted online at www.hawaii.gov/health/oeqc/notice/index.html as well as in writing to Molokai Ranch, the State Land Use Commission, and the Office of Environmental Quality Control. All pertinent comments will be responded to and incorporated into the final Environmental Impact Statement.