House Republicans reclaim the legacy of "Teddy" Roosevelt
by Rep Gene Ward (R-Hawaii Kai)
HONOLULU – In keeping with the legacy of Republican President and staunch environmentalist Theodore Roosevelt, Republicans in the State House of Representatives successfully led the way in opposing a series of bills that would have resulted in lasting damage to our environment.
"This year, the Republican caucus defended Hawaii's environmental laws against many attempts by the Majority to erode our longstanding environmental protections. With the support of our communities and many coalitions, we successfully defeated many bills that would have endangered the quality of life for our residents and their children. We are very proud to end the 2012 session knowing that we helped to preserve the State of Hawaii for future generations."
A few of the bills that House Republicans successfully opposed were:
SB 2927 SD2 HD1 CD2 could have resulted in unrestrained development near train stations planned for the controversial 20-mile elevated railway project from Kapolei to Ala Moana.
SB 2235 SD2 HD2 would have required state and county agencies to review all commercial broadband-related permit applications within 60 business days, or else the projects would automatically gain approval. The Department of Land and Natural Resources called this time limit far too restrictive – especially for projects in State Land Use Conservation Districts requiring public hearings.
SB 755 SD2 HD3 would have "temporarily" exempt certain airport construction projects from environmental reviews and public involvement. Testifying in strong opposition, the Hawaii Audubon Society said this bill "is not in the public interest and is not protective of Hawaii’s native flora and fauna or cultural resources." Rep. Corinne Ching warned this measure would create an “open season on the treasures of the land…and health of the people.”
HB 2250 HD2 SD1 would have appropriated funds for the establishment of an emergency environmental workforce for short-term employment to maintain watersheds, eradicate certain plants and animals. The bill had myriad unintended opportunity costs and negative consequences including threats to already effective watershed projects, the loss of dollars vital for match for federal grants, and potential reduction in staff.