comscore Earthjustice files suit over DOT lights, imperiled seabirds | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Top News

Earthjustice files suit over DOT lights, imperiled seabirds

  • JAMM AQUINO / 2014

    A Newell’s shearwater, or Hawaiian shearwater, flies just above the surface of the ocean in East Oahu. Earthjustice sued the state today claiming it has failed to protect the birds from lights that confuse the birds at night.

  • COURTESY BRENDA ZAUN

    A Newell’s shearwater bird. Earthjustice sued the state today claiming it hasn’t done enough to protect the birds from nighttime light pollution.

Conservation groups filed a lawsuit against the state today claiming it’s failing to address the harm to imperiled seabirds caused by bright lighting at its facilities in violation of the Endangered Species Act.

Earthjustice said in a press release that the state Department of Transportation has failed to address injuries and deaths of three species of seabirds — the threatened Newell’s shearwater and the endangered Hawaiian petrels and band-rumped storm petrels — at state-operated airports and harbors on Kauai, Maui and Lanai.

The seabirds are attracted to the bright lights, but become disoriented and circle around them, then fall to the ground from exhaustion or crash into nearby buildings.

Earthjustice, a nonprofit law firm, filed the suit on behalf of conservation groups Hui Ho‘omalu i Ka ‘Aina, the Conservation Council for Hawai‘i and Center for Biological Diversity following a breakdown in discussions last October with federal and state wildlife agencies over an islandwide habitat conservation plan on Kauai.

“It is incredibly saddening to know how endangered these seabirds have become,” said Marjorie Ziegler of Conservation Council for Hawai‘i. “They are integral parts of our island ecosystem and native Hawaiian culture. We hope this lawsuit will finally spur our government to take the necessary steps to protect them.”

Comments (0)

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines.

Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.

Scroll Up