Governor Abercrombie’s office released the following statement this afternoon:
Governor Neil Abercrombie today asked the Public Land Development Corporation (PLDC) Board of Directors to temporarily defer action on pending rules while public concerns about the agency are fully considered and addressed. Additionally, the Governor directed the state Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), to which the PLDC is administratively attached, to facilitate meetings with stakeholders.
“I have asked the PLDC board to postpone any meeting dates and adoptive actions until those concerns are fully taken into consideration,” said Governor Abercrombie. “I do not want the potential for the PLDC to accomplish public good to be lost because of a failure to account for reservations about either the process or the outcome. I have asked DLNR Chairperson William Aila to meet with stakeholders to address the PLDC’s administrative rules and the rule-making process before moving forward.”
The meetings conducted by Chair Aila will be done with full accountability and transparency, and with the understanding that if public concerns cannot be adequately addressed, then a legislative process may be appropriate.
“We will do our best to alleviate public concerns; however, the PLDC is the creation of the Legislature and lawmakers will ultimately be the ones to decide its future,” said Governor Abercrombie.
Established in 2011 by the Hawaii State Legislature, the PLDC’s purpose is to create and facilitate partnerships between state and county agencies, businesses, non-profits, and community groups to improve Hawaii’s communities, create jobs and expand public benefit through stewardship and responsible use of land resources.
Currently, the PLDC is completing a public review process, mandated by law, to formulate its administrative rules. Last summer, the PLDC conducted statewide public hearings on draft rules and encountered concerns from the public and community groups that followed the initial passage of the law.
The PLDC staff worked with legislative proponents to complete a strategic plan to better define its scope, dispel myths and facilitate continued review of its draft rules. The PLDC has also proposed amendments to its draft rules based on public input and held an additional public hearing on Nov. 13 to provide further opportunity for public comment.
“It is the responsibility of PLDC staff to follow through with the public commentary process, and personal attacks which have characterized some of the testimony are, in my opinion, misdirected and unproductive,” added Governor Abercrombie. “We’ve heard the concerns and now need to focus on productive dialogue with stakeholders before proceeding.
“The PLDC has the potential to support new schools, recreational facilities and operations by using public lands for public purposes that otherwise may not have had sufficient funding. We will continue to work closely with the Legislature and all interested parties involved to do what is best for the people of Hawaii.”