Understanding OHA

The cause of much contention, clearly evident at last week’s public meeting, comes from an OHA resolution which declares support for the Community Based Master Land Use Plan which includes the development of La`au Point.

The proponents for OHA’s support of the plan rally around the reasoning set forth by trustee Colette Machado, who makes the argument that, if successful, the plan would protect up 50,000 acres of land from being developed. In her view the act of protecting this acreage is consistent with OHA’s mission which is "to protect Hawaii’s people and environmental resources… toward ensuring the perpetuation of the culture, the enhancement of lifestyle and the protection of entitlements of Native Hawaiians."

Opponents to OHA’s resolution point out that the "Master Plan" includes notable elements contrary to the OHA mission. These elements include a major development of an area which is already used for subsistence gathering (Lau`au Point). The plan also includes the proposal to draw one million gallons of brackish water daily, to which the possible ramifications to Molokai’s water table have not been adequately studied.

While these issues were passionately discussed at last weeks meeting, the trustees, according to Machado, will not begin the process of re-assessing the resolution of support until it is "agendized." Indeed, the official agenda for last week’s meeting did not specifically include this task. "Normally after a resolution is made, rarely is it reconsidered by trustees," says Machado who at the same time iterated that fact the Trustees would indeed look into the matter as soon as they received a request to do so in writing.

And indeed, at least two homestead association do plan to submit a letters requesting OHA trusteesto rescind their resolution of support.

It is also important to note that the OHA resolution itself does not legally bind the trust to back the plan, and more importantly, it does not impede the trust from supporting beneficiaries who may request resources to go against the plan or to find alternatives to the plan.

"I want to confirm that the trustees saw and heard the people passionately voice their concerns. If there are other actions that are forthcoming I look forward to addressing these considerations," said Machado in concluding a phone interview with the Molokai Dispatch.


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.