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Environmentalists, Native Hawaiians urge repeal of new public land agency

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Environmentalists, Native Hawaiian leaders and University of Hawaii students crowded a state office building conference room Wednesday night to demand the repeal of the newly created Public Land Development Corp.

“We do not believe that this act (creating PLDC) can be fixed by rules,” said Jonathan Osorio, a professor of Hawaiian studies at UH who is on the executive board of KAHEA: The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance. “We believe that the state has no business setting up an autonomous entity to make decisions about ceded (former monarchy) lands and their use.”

More than 150 community members — 100 of them spilling outside the Kalanimoku Building — appeared at the hearing on PLDC’s draft administrative rules, one of several held statewide.

The PLDC was created in Act 55 by this year’s Legislature to pursue partnerships with the private sector to make better use of state property, and is an arm of the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

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