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Scientists call for government to fund Kahoolawe restoration

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    Protect Kaho‘olawe ‘Ohana volunteers gather at the shrine at Kealaikahiki.

WAILUKU >> A group of international environmental scientists is asking the federal government to provide funding for the Kahoolawe Island Reserve Commission restoration project.

The Maui News reports that more than 500 members of the Association of Tropical Biology and Conservation are scheduled to sign a declaration Friday that asks that asks the federal government for funds for restoration efforts on the island.

Kahoolawe was used as a bombing range for military training after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II. When President Dwight Eisenhower signed an executive order allowing military to use the island, one condition was that it would be returned restored.

Association member Jose Fragoso says that condition was not met and that only 75 percent of the islands surface was cleared of bombs.

“The failure of the military to remediate and restore the island indicates the continued failure of the U.S. government to fulfill its commitments, particularly when it comes to the rights of indigenous peoples,” he said.

The Kaho’olawe Island Reserve Commission is trying to find $4 million to continue operating for the next two years after state lawmakers approved a third of their requested budget.

“It’s great to have scientists and conservation professionals say Kahoolawe is an important natural resource and treasure that needs to be restored and protected,” said the group’s executive director, Michael Naho’opi’i.

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