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Scientists appeal for funds for Kahoolawe restoration

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

More than 500 members of the Association of Tropical Biology and Conservation were scheduled to sign a declaration Friday that asks the federal government for funds for restoration efforts on the island, the Maui News reported.

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 the 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 island’s 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 commit- ments, particularly when it comes to the rights of indigenous peoples," he said.

The Kahoolawe Island Reserve Commission is trying to find $4 million to continue operating for the next two years after state lawmakers approved a third of its 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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