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Rep. Morikawa Asks State to Delay Lehua Rat Eraddication Until Critical Questions Answered

Rep. Daynette Morikawa is asking the state to delay its planned rat eradication project on Lehua Island until critical environmental questions can be answered.

“Residents are very concerned about the process of dropping poison on Lehua Island to kill rats, especially as we enter hurricane season,” Morikawa said in a letter delivered to the state this week. “There are also questions about the possible effects of the poison on the coral reef, the endangered monk seal and green sea turtle, and fish near the island.”

By Polihale, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3862929

Morikawa, who represents the section of Kauai including Lehua, Niihau, Koloa and Waimea, has written to both Suzanne D. Case, chairperson of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, and Scott Enright, chairperson of the state Board of Agriculture, asking them to delay the project scheduled to drop rodenticide pellets set to begin August 8.

Public hearings on the project were inadequate and ineffective and many residents left the meetings without having their questions addressed by state experts, she said.

Morikawa said the same type of eradication was attempted in 2009 and failed. She is asking the state to explain what alternatives have been explored.

In addition, brodifacoum, which is planned to be used as the rodenticide, has not been licensed for use in Hawaii.

“I am asking the state to delay the rat eradication project until all concerns from the public have been addressed and an agreement is reached on how to best proceed,” she said.

*To read the letter to the state, click here.

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