comscore INTERACTIVE: Hawaii’s beaches are disappearing | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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INTERACTIVE: Hawaii’s beaches are disappearing

  • DARRYL OUMI / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISER
                                This 1.4-mile stretch of coastline has become completely inaccessible to the public. Government officials have granted more than 230 environmental exemptions to owners of homes, hotels and condos, according to records compiled by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and ProPublica. Those exemptions have allowed property owners to keep old seawalls in place, build new ones and install mounds of emergency sandbags along the beaches.

    DARRYL OUMI / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISER

    This 1.4-mile stretch of coastline has become completely inaccessible to the public. Government officials have granted more than 230 environmental exemptions to owners of homes, hotels and condos, according to records compiled by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and ProPublica. Those exemptions have allowed property owners to keep old seawalls in place, build new ones and install mounds of emergency sandbags along the beaches.

This story is co-published with ProPublica, a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser is a member of the ProPublica Local Reporting Network.

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Hawaii’s beaches are disappearing as major islands have lost nearly a quarter of them in the last century. The culprit? Seawalls and other barriers erected by wealthy homeowners.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser and ProPublica have developed an interactive, web-based app that compiles 20 years of shoreline exemptions in a searchable map of properties that got permits to keep existing shoreline structures or build new ones.

View the interactive: http://808ne.ws/propublicabeachloss


 

RELATED STORIES FROM THE PARADISE LOST SERIES:

OBAMA AND THE BEACH HOUSE LOOPHOLE
Although Hawaii has laws meant to preserve disappearing shorelines, beachfront property owners have been able to bypass them. That’s what happened at an expansive coastal estate officials say the Obamas will live in.

 

BONES FOUND ON A PROPERTY TIED TO OBAMA, CAUSING TENSION WITH NATIVE HAWAIIAN
After Native Hawaiian remains were found on the multimillion-dollar oceanfront lot being developed by the chair of the Obama Foundation, a state official decided to relocate the remains. Kamuela Kala‘i is speaking up for her ancestors.

 

OCEANFRONT PROPERTY TIED TO OBAMA GRANTED EXEMPTION FROM HAWAII’S ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS
Honolulu officials have granted an exception to the state’s beach protections, clearing the way for a controversial multimillion dollar renovation of a century-old seawall at a property owned by the chair of the Obama Foundation.


 

HOW WEALTHY HOMEOWNERS ARE ENDANGERING HAWAII’S BEACHES
Hawaii’s beaches are public land, which officials are obligated to protect and preserve. But a state agency has repeatedly allowed homeowners, including surfer Kelly Slater, to use tactics that protect property while speeding up the loss of beaches.



Sophie Cocke is a reporter with the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. She has covered government and politics in Hawaii for the past decade. Please get in touch at scocke@staradvertiser.com if you have information you want to share about seawalls or other shoreline hardening structures.

Ash Ngu is a journalist, designer and developer with ProPublica’s news apps team.


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