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Nation’s Broadest Wildlife Trafficking Ban Takes Effect

As the “endangered species capital of the world,” Hawai‘i knows first-hand the devastating impacts of losing significant and iconic native species. And now state has taken a historic step in helping to prevent the further loss of critically endangered species within its own borders and abroad.

Senate Bill 2647 (Act 125), sponsored by Senator Mike Gabbard, is the most comprehensive U.S. state law targeting the illegal wildlife trade. The bill prohibits the sale, offer for sale, purchase, trade, possession with intent to sell, or barter for any part or product of any species of elephant, mammoth, rhinoceros, tiger, great ape, shark and ray, sea turtle, walrus, narwhal, whale, hippopotamus, monk seal, lion, pangolin, cheetah, jaguar, and leopard, all identified as threatened with extinction by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and the Endangered Species Act.  This law does not prohibit the mere possession of such items.

While the bill passed in the 2016 legislature, enforcement of the law was delayed until June 30, 2017, to grant individuals and businesses with wildlife products in their possession time to lawfully dispossess of the items. The law also provides continued reasonable exemptions for bona fide antiques, musical instruments, guns and knives, and traditional cultural practices.

“I worked on this issue for a number of years after learning that a 2008 investigation identified Hawai‘i as having the 3rd largest ivory market in the US, only behind New York and California. Many may not be aware that globally, wildlife trafficking falls right behind, and often hand in hand with illegal drugs, weapons and human trafficking crimes. Act 125 now serves as a model for other states and nations to emulate,” said Senator Mike Gabbard.

“Wildlife trafficking remains a high priority for enforcement. We support any legislation that recognizes the importance of protecting species that are at risk of exploitation. Hawai’i is doing its part to be globally aware of this issue”, said the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement Chief Robert Farrell.

In the past 4 years, a number of states across the U.S. have pushed for stricter laws to crack down on illegal wildlife trafficking.  New York, New Jersey, California and most recently Nevada have each passed laws prohibiting the purchase and sale of products made with elephant ivory and rhino horn and other imperiled species.   Washington and Oregon enacted similar measures through ballot initiatives. State measures are a critical tool to complement federal and international efforts to combat transnational wildlife crime.

The Hawai‘i bill was supported by local residents and dozens of grassroots and national conservation and animal protection groups including The Humane Society of the United States, Conservation Council for Hawaii, NSEFU Wildlife Foundation and the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos, Vulcan Inc., International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Humane Society International (HSI), the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

Hawaii Governor’s Statement on the Request for Voter Roll Data from the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity

Governor Ige’s Statement on the request for voter roll data from the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.

The State of Hawai‘i has received no request for voter roll data from the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.  Taking a look at what other states have received, I’m skeptical.  At this point, we have no assurance that personal information would be secured.  It also appears that the commission aims to address voter fraud.  By all accounts, incidents of actual voter fraud are extremely rare.  I’m concerned this type of investigation would lead to a denial of voter access.  When we get the request, I will share my concerns with state and county elections officials.

From what I’ve heard, I don’t think we should share these records.

County of Hawai‘i Wins Award for Financial Reporting 29 Years in a Row

The County of Hawai‘i’ has won a national award for financial reporting, according to the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA).  It is the 29th year in a row that Hawai’i County has clinched the coveted award.The County’s comprehensive annual financial report, commonly known as the CAFR, earned a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting, the highest form of recognition in government accounting and financial reporting.

“The CAFR has been judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the program, which includes demonstrating a constructive spirit of full disclosure to clearly communicate its financial story…” said a GFOA press release.

“(The County’s) attainment (of the award) represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management,” it said.

The County of Hawai‘i first won this award in 1988, and has won it every year since.

An Award of Financial Reporting Achievement will also be presented to the individual in the Finance Department who was primarily responsible for winning the award for the County.  That honor goes to the County’s Controller, Kay Oshiro.

The Chicago-based GFOA is a major professional association serving the needs of nearly 19,000 appointed and elected local, state, and provincial-level government officials and other financial practitioners.

Click to view the most recent report

AirAsia X Touches Down in Honolulu – Inaugural Flight Marks Successful Entry Into the U.S.

Flight D7 001 from long-haul low-cost carrier AirAsia X landed at Honolulu International Airport on June 28, marking the airline’s first foray into the US.

(PRNewsfoto/AirAsia X)

The four times weekly route departed from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for Honolulu, Hawaii via Osaka, Japan.

The successful inaugural flight was followed by a celebration and press conference event at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, graced by State of Hawaii Chief of Staff Mike McCartney; Malaysian Ambassador to the US HE Tan Sri Dr Zulhasnan Rafique; Hawaii Tourism Authority President and CEO George D. Szigeti; AirAsia X Chairperson Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz and AirAsia X CEO Benyamin Ismail.

AirAsia X Chairperson Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz said, “We are here to democratize air travel for everyone so flying long haul would no longer be a luxury only a few could enjoy. This landmark route to Hawaii is a bold new chapter in that quest to help more people travel farther for less. But this is just the beginning, and soon our guests will be able to enjoy flights to even more destinations in the US as we continue to grow our international footprint.”

Last week, AirAsia was named the World’s Best Low Cost Airline for the ninth straight years while AirAsia X won the World’s Best Low Cost Airline Premium Cabin and Premium Seat awards for the fifth consecutive year at the Skytrax World Airline Awards held at the Paris Air Show.

“We are deeply honored AirAsia X has chosen Honolulu as its initial destination to expand service in the United States and appreciate how this route strengthens our ties with the people and culture of Malaysia,” said George D. Szigeti, President and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority. “AirAsia X customers in Kuala Lumpur and Osaka will enjoy the convenience of this direct service and how it connects them with the welcoming aloha spirit of the Hawaiian culture, the spectacular natural beauty of our islands, and the diversity of Asia Pacific influences that enriches the experience of being in Hawaii.”

To celebrate the inaugural flight, AirAsia X will be offering one-way fares from as low as USD189* for a standard seat or USD799* for the award-winning Premium Flatbed from Honolulu to Kuala Lumpur; or USD149* for a standard seat or USD699* for the Premium Flatbed from Honolulu to Osaka. These promotional fares are available on airasia.com now through July 2 for travel between October 1, 2017 and August 28, 2018.

The capital city of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur is known around the world for its iconic, modern skyline featuring the Petronas Twin Towers. The city is a major shopping haven for tourists and its multi-cultural culinary scene attracts visitors from across the globe. Outside the city limits, Kuala Lumpur serves as a gateway to the UNESCO Heritage Site of Melaka, just about two hour’s drive away from the airport. No matter what your interests, it all happens in Kuala Lumpur.

Osaka is Japan’s third largest city located in the Kansai region. A city that loves to eat, Osaka’s unofficial slogan is kuidaore. which literally means ‘eat until you drop.’ Takoyaki (octopus balls), Okonomiyaki (pan-fried batter cake), udon and other traditional Japanese culinary are some of the must-try food in Osaka. Visitor can stroll along the river at Dotombori and take a selfie with the famous Glico billboard, visit the majestic Osaka Castle, enjoy the thrills at Universal Studio Japan and many more.

* One-way all-in fare inclusive of taxes and fees. Terms and conditions apply.

Flight Schedule for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (KUL) to Honolulu, Hawaii (HNL) via Osaka, Japan (KIX)

Note: All times listed are local unless otherwise stated.

Hawaii Governor Elected Vice Chairman of the Western Governors’ Association

Gov. David Ige was elected vice chairman of the Western Governors’ Association (WGA) at its annual conference in Whitefish, Montana. He will serve with South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard, who is the incoming WGA chairman.

In his role as vice chair, Gov. Ige will serve as chairman of WGA’s policy committee. The governor will serve for one year before becoming chair of the WGA next year, by a vote of the Western Governors.

Former Hawai‘i Governors George Ariyoshi and Ben Cayetano previously served as WGA chairmen.

The Western Governors’ Association was established in 1984 to represent the governors of 19 western states and three U.S. flag islands – American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. The association is an instrument of the governors for bipartisan policy development, information exchange and collective action on issues of critical importance to the Western United States.

Department of Health Announces Zika Preparedness & Response Milestones to Fight the Bite During National Mosquito Awareness Week

National Mosquito Control Awareness Week, June 25–July 1, 2017, is a nationwide annual reminder of the importance of controlling mosquitoes and reducing the serious risks of vector-borne diseases like Zika, dengue and chikungunya. Protecting Hawaii from these diseases is a major undertaking, and the state has recently reached several milestones in mosquito-borne disease prevention and response.

DOH vector control staff treat a large area of residential yard to eliminate adult mosquitoes.

With the support of the Hawaii State Legislature, the Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has been diligently ramping up its vector control capacity by increasing staff positions on all islands, conducting training on mosquito surveillance and disease response protocols, and ensuring sufficient equipment and supplies are available to effectively respond to potential disease outbreaks from mosquitoes, should it be necessary.

While staffing has increased statewide from 25 to 45 positions, the hub of activity has been on Hawaii Island, which now has 15 dedicated vector control staff positions with a range of expertise including inspectors, specialists, and an entomologist. This week, DOH vector control staff are participating in a three-day workshop conference in Kona to evaluate response plans and undergo training on mosquito surveillance and abatement practices.

“Having a well-equipped vector control program year-round is crucial to maintain monitoring and reduction of mosquitoes and other vectors even when we aren’t engaged in an active disease outbreak,” said Keith Kawaoka, DOH’s deputy director of the Environmental Health Administration. “Increased staffing means our Vector Control program will be ready to immediately respond to suspect or confirmed cases of mosquito-borne disease and have the resources to control mosquitoes and their breeding areas in order to reduce the risk of diseases spreading. Our Vector Control program is also a key partner in routine control of mosquito populations within the community through ongoing education, source reduction, and larviciding.”

The Hawaii Island District Health Office’s Vector Control Program has taken the lead to develop and implement strategies that will reduce mosquito activity and prevent breeding areas. Efforts include:

  • Collaboration with Hawaii Invasive Species Council’s Mamalu Poepoe project to re-examine monitoring and abatement strategies at points-of-entry (i.e., airports, harbors, etc.) to increase the state’s biosecurity related to introductions of new species of disease carrying mosquitoes.
  • Island-wide mosquito surveillance and mapping to identify present species and their prevalence and assess the risk to residents and visitors alike. Special attention is being paid to Aedes aegypti, which is an extremely efficient carrier of Zika, dengue and chikungunya.
  • Ongoing studies to predict mosquito breeding patterns based on rainfall and other environmental and seasonal influences.
  • Practicing, monitoring, and evaluating the effectiveness of abatement strategies conducted in public and residential areas.

While vector control has been a crucial focal point, other department-wide efforts to better prepare the state to both prevent and respond to the possibility of mosquito-borne disease outbreaks, especially Zika, are underway and making substantial progress.

Statewide Mosquito-borne Disease Response Plan Completed and Tested

Drawing on lessons learned from the 2015–16 dengue outbreak, which was focused on Hawaii Island and sickened 264 people, DOH collaborated with local, state, and federal partners to develop the Joint Hawaii Mosquito-borne Disease Outbreak Emergency Operations Plan so that the state may be better prepared to respond to an outbreak, especially with the threat of Zika growing in regions worldwide. The plan provides essential and evidence-based guidance to state and county emergency management agencies prior to, during, and immediately after a mosquito-borne disease outbreak. Hawaii’s plan is closely aligned with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) plan guidance and further tailored for Hawaii’s unique situation. DOH has hosted a series of tabletop exercises to collect feedback from partners and stakeholders. This year, exercises have been completed in Kauai, Maui, and Hawaii Counties, and another will take place in Honolulu later this week.

Disease Surveillance and Investigation Capability Improved

DOH’s Disease Outbreak Control Division (DOCD) has added three staff members to enhance the efficiency of disease surveillance and investigation. Additional staff have improved collaboration between investigators and epidemiologists with partners, such as the State Laboratories Division and the Environmental Health Services Division, which houses the Vector Control Branch. Enhanced integration and coordination among these areas will ensure streamlined processes during emergency outbreak situations.

State Laboratory Capacity Increasing

The DOH State Laboratories Division (SLD) in Pearl City is one of a handful public health laboratories in the nation with the capacity to test for dengue, Zika and chikungunya viruses. This capacity allows our state to quickly turn around testing results for mosquito-borne diseases in the Pacific. In response to the most recent outbreak, SLD developed and refined its IgM testing (analysis of early antibodies in blood samples) capacity to address rising concerns about Zika infection. SLD is in the process of establishing plaque reduction neutralization testing (PRNT), a more complex antibody testing process, for dengue and Zika. This will allow the state to better define cross reactive samples, which currently must be sent to CDC, and thus reduce the time to resolve final results.

Birth Defects Surveillance Ongoing

DOH’s Hawaii Birth Defects Program (HBDP) and DOCD have been working together to monitor mothers potentially affected by Zika since January 2016. Since Zika can be passed from a pregnant mother to her baby before or during birth, it is critical to collect data regarding them and their babies through their clinicians. Data are then contributed to the national Zika birth registry with the hope of better understanding congenital Zika infection, including its scope, risk, and incidence.

Education and Outreach Campaign

Public education efforts have been driven by the Fight the Bite program, a statewide campaign that urges Hawaii to collectively prevent, prepare and protect against mosquito-borne diseases. A wide range of educational materials are available to arm the public with knowledge about these diseases and how they can take proactive measures in their communities.

In addition to being made available online at www.fightthebitehawaii.com, DOH is working with health centers and clinics statewide to ensure providers are properly trained on how to use and distribute materials to their patients/clients. Earlier this year, DOH conducted for Hawaii’s clinicians the first ever statewide public health grand rounds webinar, which focused on the clinical management of Zika infection.

For more information about mosquito-borne diseases, visit http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/disease-types/mosquito-transmitted/. To access Fight the Bite educational materials, including print, video, and audio-based resources, visit www.fightthebitehawaii.com.

UH College of Education Faculty Member Awarded $1.8 Million Grant to Promote Life Sciences

UH Mānoa College of Education (COE) Department of Curriculum Studies Professor Pauline Chinn received a four-year award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for Transforming Scientific Practices to Promote Students’ Interest and Motivation in the Life Sciences: A Teacher Leadership Development Intervention.

Chinn says the program is aligned with the vision of Hōkūle‛a’s Worldwide Voyage and the Promise to Children signed by the COE, University of Hawai‛i and Hawai‛i Department of Education. “We are the stewards and navigators of Hawai‛i’s educational community,” she said.  “We believe that the betterment of humanity is inherently possible, and that our schools, collectively, from early childhood education through advanced graduate studies, are a powerful force for good.” (Promise to Children).

Jackie Camit shows how art can be integrated into a lesson on ocean acidification.

Three courses, underwritten by NSF, integrate science with culture and place to engage students in developing design-based solutions to local problems of economic, cultural and ecological importance.

Teachers and community partners will form an interdisciplinary professional learning community with a UH team, comprised of Chinn, Curriculum Studies Assistant Specialist Kahea Faria, Institute for Teacher Education Assistant Professor Kirsten Mawyer, Kawaihuelani Center for Hawaiian Language Professor Puakea Nogelmeier, and Botany Professor Celia Smith. Community partners provide students with STEM role models and exposure to future careers.

Recruitment is under way for the Fall 2017 EDCS 640J/P Seminar in Place-based Science. The seminar is designed to help teachers build their knowledge mauka-makai (ridge to reef) to engage students in problem-based learning addressing ecological issues, such as invasive and endangered species, water quality and climate change. Other courses in the program will enable teachers to develop and teach lessons aligned to standards as well as to hone research skills that are integral to educational expertise.

Nine credits of NSF sponsored coursework may be applied to an Interdisciplinary MEd or PhD in Curriculum and Instruction. For more information, contact Pauline Chinn at chinn@hawaii.edu.

For more information, visit: https://coe.hawaii.edu/

Hilo International Airport (ITO) Receives Outstanding Airport Award From Federal Aviation Administration

Hawaii Department Of Transportation is pleased to announce that the Hilo International Airport (ITO) received an award for outstanding and continued safety and compliance performance from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) during the Annual Airports Conference Awards on June 13, 2017.

From left to right: Winsome Lenfert, FAA Acting Associate Administrator for Airports; Steven Santiago, Hilo International Airport District Manager; Mark McClardy, FAA Western Pacific Region Director of Airports

Under the direction of Airport District Manager Steven Santiago, the Hilo International Airport flourishes because of its strong leadership and the devotion of its staff to constantly improve the airport’s facilities, aviation safety programs, and community outreach.

The Hilo International Airport continues to thrive largely because of the capital improvements and maintenance projects that enhance the airport’s facilities. This year several projects are planned including terminal improvements to the existing airport restrooms; design of the arcade building upgrades which include enclosing and air conditioning the second floor; and the design and reconstruction of the aircraft apron areas. There will also be construction for noise attenuation to benefit the surrounding community of Keaukaha, parking lot repaving at the main terminal, and the addition of vehicle canopies over the parking lot entries and exits.

In addition to airport facility projects, a major component that elevates Hilo International Airport is its outstanding aviation safety program. Santiago has shown dedication to the implementation of activities that have improved airport safety. He identified and implemented services for the pilot community including safety briefings and airport operating rules, and he exposed pilots to WINGS, an FAA educational pilot proficiency program.

It is the leadership and integrity of Santiago and his team that makes Hilo International Airport worthy of the Outstanding Airport Award. HDOT strives for growth and efficiency at the Hilo International Airport in order to create a safe and comfortable environment that will leave visitors and residents with a positive impression of Hawaii.

HDOT is making improvements to our airports statewide through the Hawaii Airports Modernization program. More information can be found by clicking here.

Hawaiian Airlines HanaHou! Magazine Lands National Photography Award

A dramatic image of the Polynesian voyaging canoe Hōkūle‘a sailing around the South African coast has earned Hawaiian Airlines’ in-flight magazine HanaHou! a prestigious gold prize from The American Advertising Awards (ADDY).

Voyaging canoe en route between Hout Bay and Cape Town (sailing from Simon’s Town)  Twelve Apostles (peaks in distance) 11/12/15
HOKULE’A Worldwide Voyage/Malama Honua Cape Town, South Africa November 2015

Monte Costa is the Hawai‘i-based photographer behind the stunning image of the Hōkūle‘a navigating choppy waters off Hout Bay as mountain ridges known as the Twelve Apostles soar above misty clouds in the background. The photo was taken shortly before the canoe sailed into Cape Town, about halfway into its three-year Mālama Honua (Care for the Earth) Worldwide Voyage Sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines.

After gracing the cover of HanaHou!’s June-July 2016 issue, the image took a local Pele Award before grabbing the attention of ADDY’s judges, who selected it as the winner in the contest’s color photography category. The top honor recognizes the highest level of creative excellence in the advertising industry’s largest and most representative competition attracting over 40,000 entries each year.

Costa captured the moment from a zodiac chartered by a photographer friend and shared with two whale researchers.

“We knew when the Hōkūle‘a was going to be sailing by, it was way outside in the open ocean. It was very brisk and windy, beautiful. The sun was shining but it was biting cold,” recalled Costa, who sat patiently waiting for the right frame as the inflatable raft bobbed where the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet. “The image communicates movement – that Hōkūle‘a is moving toward something special. That photo draws you in, it sucks you in as if you are moving with the Hōkūle‘a.”

“This image of Hokule’a approaching the Twelve Apostles near Cape Town, South Africa, seems to come from another world,” remarked HanaHou! publisher Chris Pearce. “You sense the forbidding power of the ocean and the ancient cliffs, and also the intrepid spirit of the voyagers. Among hundreds of photos submitted to the competition, this is the one that the judges couldn’t forget and it’s not hard to see why.”

The ADDY award also acknowledged the work of HanaHou! Photo Editor Matt Mallams and Design Director Kunio Hayashi.

The Hōkūle‘a returned home to Hawai‘i on June 17 after a 40,000-nautical mile journey that included stops at 150 ports and 18 nations. As the title sponsor of The Polynesian Voyaging Society’s Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, Hawaiian Airlines provided more than 54 million air miles for crew travel, as well as cargo support.

US Navy Missile Defense Test Fails Off Hawaii

An interceptor missile fired from a US Navy destroyer off the coast of Hawaii failed to hit it’s target, the US Missile Defense Agency said:

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency and the Japan Ministry of Defense conducted a development flight test today of a new Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA missile off the coast of Hawaii.

A planned intercept was not achieved.

US Navy destroyer John Paul Jones (DDG 53) fires a missile interceptor in this file photo

The SM-3 Block IIA is being developed cooperatively by the U.S. and Japan to defeat medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles. This is a new, developmental interceptor that is not yet fielded by either country.

At approximately 7:20 p.m., Hawaii Standard Time, June 21 (1:20 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, June 22), a medium-range ballistic target missile was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Kauai, Hawaii. The USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) detected and tracked the target missile with its onboard AN/SPY-1 radar using the Aegis Baseline 9.C2 weapon system. Upon acquiring and tracking the target, the ship launched an SM-3 Block IIA guided missile, but the missile did not intercept the target.

Program officials will conduct an extensive analysis of the test data. Until that review is complete, no additional details will be available.

This was the fourth development flight test using an SM-3 IIA missile, and the second intercept test. The previous intercept test, conducted in February 2017, was successful.

Though currently still in the development and test phase, the SM-3 Block IIA interceptor is being designed to operate as part of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system. Currently, the Aegis BMD system operates with the SM-3 Block 1A, SM-3 Block 1B, and SM-6 interceptors.

EPA Requires County of Hawaii to Close Large Cesspools – Reaches Agreement with Aloha Island Mart

Agency also reaches agreement with Aloha Island Mart in Captain Cook over LCC violation

Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced an agreement with the County of Hawaii to close seven large capacity cesspools (LCCs) that serve the Pahala and Naalehu communities. The County will replace the cesspools with wastewater treatment systems approved by the Hawaii Department of Health.

In a separate action, EPA reached an agreement with Aloha Petroleum, Ltd. requiring the company to pay a civil penalty of $57,500 for its operation of an LCC at its Aloha Island Mart convenience store and gas station in Captain Cook on the Big Island. EPA found that Aloha Island Mart operated an illegal LCC until 2014. Aloha Petroleum has since closed the non-compliant cesspool and replaced it with an approved wastewater system.

Click to read the consent agreement

An LCC is a cesspool that serves multiple residential dwellings or a commercial facility with the capacity to serve 20 or more people per day. Cesspools collect and discharge waterborne pollutants like untreated raw sewage into the ground, where disease-causing pathogens can contaminate groundwater, streams and the ocean. LCCs were banned under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act in April 2005.

The agreement with the County of Hawaii requires the closure of two LCCs serving the Pahala community, three LCCs serving the Naalehu community, and two LCCs serving the Pahala Elderly Apartments. Combined, the seven cesspools serve about 280 households.

“EPA and the County of Hawaii are taking important steps to close these banned cesspools and replace them with modern wastewater treatment systems,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “These actions will protect Hawaii’s drinking water and coastal resources, as we seek to modernize Big Island water infrastructure.”

In the Pahala and Naalehu communities, the County has developed closure and replacement plans for the cesspools. Newly-constructed secondary wastewater treatment facilities and updated collection systems will come online in 2021 for Pahala and in 2022 for Naalehu. Cesspools serving the Pahala Elderly Apartments will be closed by September 2018 and replaced with septic systems. The agreement also includes specific reporting requirements and allows for stipulated penalties should the county fail to meet agreed-upon deadlines.

Construction of the new treatment and disposal facilities will be financed in part with federal grants and low-interest loans from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund loan program. Under the agreement, an additional 95 properties in the Pahala and Naalehu communities not currently served by the LCCs will also be connected to the new county sewer systems.

Cesspools are used more widely in Hawaii than in any other state, despite the fact that 95 percent of all drinking water in Hawaii comes from groundwater sources. over 3,000 large capacity cesspools have been closed state-wide, many through voluntary compliance.

For more information on this specific agreement visit: https://www.epa.gov/uic/hawaii-cesspools-administrative-orders#hawaii

For more information on the large capacity cesspool ban and definition of a large capacity cesspool, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/uic/cesspools-hawaii

Lessons From a Tsunami Could Help Protect Seabirds in the Face of Rising Seas

Sudden flooding hit islands of global importance for Pacific birds highlighting threats and opportunities for conservation planning

In a study published Thursday, researchers evaluated the effects of sudden flooding from the Tohoku tsunami on more than 20 bird species nesting on the distant Pacific islands. The results shed light not only on how those birds weathered the dramatic rise in seas from the extreme event, but also how island wildlife may fare with the threat of rising sea levels and increased storm surges.

Young Laysan albatross (Phoebastria immutabilis) at its nest near the coastline at Midway Atoll, Hawaii

Many seabird species have disappeared from human populated higher islands, and their worldwide distributions are now concentrated on the low-lying islands protected as Wildlife Refuges and Marine National Monuments.

“Much of our Pacific island biodiversity is vulnerable to catastrophic flooding. Many of the bird’s eggs are in low-lying island baskets, so to speak,” said U.S. Geological Survey ecologist, Dr. Michelle Reynolds, lead researcher on the study. “The research here shows that sudden flooding from dramatic events like tsunamis as well as longer-term sea level rise create risks for the birds, but also reveal that there are opportunities to establish breeding colonies at higher elevations. Higher elevation habitat that is free of invasive predators may provide more resilience for island seabirds.”

“Estimates of nest flooding from the tsunami combined with models of sea-level rise flooding and storm wave flooding give us a tool to glimpse into future,” said John Klavitter, co-author of the study and manager with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife. “We can better understand where the populations are most vulnerable to flooding, what proportions of the seabird populations are most vulnerable, and where restoration and invasive predator management may achieve the most long-term value.”

At the far northwestern reaches of the Hawaiian Island chain, protected as part of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, Laysan Island and the three islands of Midway Atoll have a combined area of about 2,300 acres and a mean elevation of less than 11.5 feet. These islands are used by 6 million to 10 million birds including the world’s largest colonies of Black-footed and Laysan albatrosses, and the global populations of endangered Laysan teal.

An aerial photograph of Laysan Island, Hawaii, part of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. USGS photo July 2010

Catastrophic flooding of Pacific islands occurs periodically not only from tsunamis but also from storm surge and rainfall. With rising sea levels, the frequency of flooding events will likely increase. To understand where and which bird populations are most vulnerable to sudden flooding, the spatial extent of flooding from the 2011 Tohoku tsunami was detailed on the islands of Laysan and Midway Atoll. The spatial boundary of flooding on each island was then combined with bird nesting data. Species that nest near the coast, nest simultaneously, or have strong nest site and island fidelity are identified as more sensitive to population declines from island over-wash events.

The scientists estimated the 2011 tsunami flooded 26 to 52 percent of the Black-footed albatross nests concentrated on the coast of islands and that across the four islands more than 275,000 Black-footed and Laysan albatross and Bonin petrel nests were flooded. Populations of endemic land birds, such as the Laysan teal were especially vulnerable to the longer-term habitat changes from catastrophic flooding.

This study and recent research describing potential inundation from sea level rise and storm wave highlight the vulnerability of these low islands to wave over-wash and the opportunity restore species to the higher islands. The researchers hope the information can help natural resource managers make decisions about where restoration and conservation efforts can have the most long-lasting effects.

Map of the 11 March 2011 Tohoku earthquake epicenter in relation to the Northwestern and main Hawaiian Islands

The study “Lessons from the Tohoku tsunami: a model for island avifauna conservation prioritization” was published in the journal Ecology and Evolution by USGS authors Michelle Reynolds and Karen Courtot, Paul Berkowitz of Hawaii Cooperative Study Unit at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, and John Klavitter of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and Members of Congress Sue Trump Administration for Violation of Foreign Emoluments Clause

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02), and Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, announced today their lawsuit against President Trump to enforce the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution dealing with gifts or benefits the President, or other Administration officials, might receive from foreign governments and businesses. The lawsuit would give Congress the authority to vote on, and approve, any foreign emoluments on a case-by-case basis.


“The American people deserve a president who is a servant leader who they can trust to represent the people’s interests, rather than his or her own. Those who voted for President Trump took him at his word – that having accumulated enough of his own personal wealth, he would be solely focused on serving the American people.

“It is paramount that President Trump divest himself from his properties, especially those abroad, so Americans can trust that this Administration’s foreign policy decisions are not being influenced by the President’s investments. We need to be assured, for example, that U.S.-Saudi policy is not being influenced by a Trump resort or other investments in that country, rather it is crafted to serve the best interests of the American people.

“If President Trump does the right thing by seeking and receiving appropriate congressional approval, stops accepting financial benefits from foreign government officials, and divests himself from his properties, I will withdraw my support from this lawsuit. The people of this country deserve transparency and confidence that the President is acting on their behalf,” Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

Hawaii Argues to U.S. Supreme Court that Trump Travel Ban is Unnecessary and Unlawful

Today, Hawaii filed a supplemental brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, in which it argues that a new memo issued by President Trump on June 14, 2017 has rendered his controversial travel ban and refugee ban both unnecessary and unlawful.

Click to read

On May 25, 2017, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed an injunction against the travel ban in International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) v. Trump. On June 1, 2017, the Trump Administration asked the United States Supreme Court to stay the Fourth Circuit injunction issued in IRAP v. Trump, grant discretionary review (called certiorari) in IRAP v. Trump, and stay the injunction issued by Hawaii federal district court Judge Derrick K. Watson in Hawaii v. Trump. On June 12, 2017, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Judge Watson’s order on statutory grounds. The Ninth Circuit upheld the district court’s injunction blocking the travel ban and the refugee ban. The only portions of the district court’s injunction that were not upheld concerned internal studies undertaken by the Government and whether the President, rather than his cabinet members, should be named directly. Neither change reduces the effectiveness of the injunction against the travel and refugee bans.

Following the Ninth Circuit’s ruling, the Trump Administration asked the Supreme Court for supplemental briefing to address the Ninth Circuit’s decision. The Trump Administration filed its supplemental brief on June 15, 2017, requesting both a stay of the injunction pending appeal and that the Supreme Court grant certiorari in Hawaii v. Trump, alongside IRAP v. Trump.

Two days after the Ninth Circuit’s decision, on June 14, President Trump had issued a memorandum instructing agencies to begin internal vetting reviews within hours of the Ninth Circuit’s decision taking effect, and to put the travel and refugee bans into effect whenever the remaining injunctions are lifted. Yesterday Judge Watson ordered the injunction to be revised consistent with the Ninth Circuit opinion.

In today’s filing, Hawaii argues in part that since the alleged rationales for the bans were to allow the Government to conduct these internal vetting reviews, the new memo from the President makes clear that the Order’s travel and refugee restrictions are no longer required to accomplish what the Government intended. “The President’s memorandum also empties the present petition for certiorari of any compelling justification. The Government does not explain why this Court’s review would be warranted once the supposed purpose of the Order – the completion of the vetting upgrade – has lapsed, as it almost surely will have by the time this case is heard in October,” Hawaii asserts.

Hawaii’s supplemental brief also states:

“Two Courts of Appeals are now united in enjoining Executive Order No. 13,780—a policy that flouts the limits of Executive power, denigrates Muslim-Americans, and threatens the Nation’s reputation as a place of refuge for immigrants and refugees alike. … Both courts saw that rationale for the sham that it was, one that can neither mask the Order’s denigration of Muslims nor justify ignoring the immigration laws’ finely reticulated limits.”

A copy of Hawaii’s supplemental brief in opposition is attached.

Supplemental Addendum. 

VIDEO: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Addresses Opening Session of the 2017 World Youth Congress

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) addressed hundreds of young leaders from Hawaiʻi and around the globe at the opening session of the 2017 World Youth Congress today. Inspired by the Worldwide Voyage of Hōkūleʻa, the 2017 World Youth Congress will be addressing issues from the 2016 International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress and exploring the theme “Reconnecting to our Ancestral Roots to build Sustainable Communities.”

In her remarks, the congresswoman spoke about how successful examples of sustainability throughout history, like the ahupuaʻa system developed by the Native Hawaiians, can continue to inspire policies and communities worldwide today. She also encouraged the delegates of the World Youth Congress and other attendees to continue the mission of the Hōkūleʻa—Mālama Honua—by finding ways to care for each other and the planet in their daily lives.

Addressing the delegates, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said, “Our ancestors taught us basic principles of sustainability and conservation—replenishing what we take, putting need over greed, and giving back to our home. These lessons gifted to us throughout history are just as timely and relevant now as ever before, and they must frame our path in the future.”

Background: Yesterday, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard attended the Hōkūleʻa Homecoming Ceremony and Celebration at Magic Island, where she joined thousands of families, students, educators, sustainability organizations, ocean conservationists, voyaging waʻa groups, residents and visitors from around the world in welcoming the Hōkūleʻa, her sister Hikianalia, and their crew home to Hawaiʻi. The congresswoman will return to Washington, DC on Monday, June 19 for votes in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Encourages Economic Opportunity for Hawai‘i Businesses at Annual “Hawai‘i on the Hill”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today spoke at the Hawai‘i on the Hill Policy Summit, where she thanked Hawai‘i business leaders and stakeholders for coming to Washington, D.C. and engaging with leaders to increase economic opportunity for Hawaii.  Rep. Tulsi Gabbard later visited the Fourth Annual Taste of Hawai‘i reception on Capitol Hill which featured over 70 members of Hawaii’s local business community, ranging from food and beverage companies to representatives from energy, tourism, and farming industries.

“I was honored to welcome business, community, and state leaders from Hawai‘i to Washington during this annual visit, where they showcased the great economic opportunities and achievements of our state.  They brought the aloha spirit with them, and lots of lei, making great connections and leaving a strong impression on policymakers and leaders in Washington.  I look forward to continuing to work with these great partners towards policies and opportunities that will strengthen our Hawai‘i economy,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

Background:

Wednesday’s policy summit ushered in the third and final day of Hawai‘i on the Hill, an event organized by the Hawai‘i Chamber of Commerce and hosted by Senator Mazie Hirono to highlight Hawaii’s contributions to the country.

Beginning with the King Kamehameha I Lei Draping Ceremony on Sunday and ending with the Taste of Hawai‘i today, Hawai‘i stakeholders, business owners, and friends of our Aloha state gathered to celebrate what makes Hawai‘i unique and special. 2017 marked the fourth consecutive year that the Hawai‘i Chamber of Commerce has partnered with local and national organizations to introduce representatives from Hawaii’s public and private sectors to federal policymakers.

Hawaii State Senators Joins 324 State Legislators in Support of Protecting Public Lands

Sen. Donovan M. Dela Cruz joined 324 state legislators of the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL) in a bipartisan effort to call on President Trump to maintain designations of national monuments, following the president’s recent executive order calling for a review of the Antiquities Act. The move could jeopardize national monuments designated by presidents in the past two decades.

Click to read the NCEL Letter

Since being enacted, the 1906 Antiquities Act has been the subject of 157 designations of national monuments by nearly every previous president beginning with President Theodore Roosevelt, and includes such areas and places as the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, Chaco Canyon, Olympic National Park, Muir Woods, and the Statue of Liberty. Presidential actions under the Antiquities Act in many instances led to subsequent congressional action to provide National Park status to these very special areas of natural and archaeological values, scientific and educational interest, and importance in our nation’s history and culture.

“Hawai‘i is home to four national monuments, including the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, which is the largest contiguous fully protected conservation area in the United States. Protecting these areas is critical to ensure a legacy of natural and archaeological resources for future generations as well as building resiliency against the effects of clime change.” said Sen. Dela Cruz (Dist. 22 – Mililani Mauka, Waipi‘o Acres, Wheeler, Wahiawa, Whitmore Village, portion of Poamoho).

Seven other Hawai‘i state legislators signed the letter in support of protecting public lands, including Senators Karl Rhoads (Dist. 13 – Dowsett Highlands, Pu‘unui, Nu‘uanu, Pacific Heights, Pauoa, Punchbowl, Palama, Liliha, Iwilei, Chinatown, and Downtown) and Laura Thielen (Dist. 25 – Kailua, Lanikai, Enchanted Lake, Keolu Hills, Maunawili, Waimanalo, Hawai‘i Kai, Portlock).

The letter initiated by Washington State Senator Kevin Ranker urges the president to work with Congress and state legislators to increase public funding for the management of all federal lands and water rather than pursuing a pathway that could lead to weakening protections for these important publicly owned areas and sites.

“National monuments hold an important place in our history and culture in the United States. No president has attempted to revoke a national monument before,” said Jeff Mauk, Executive Director of NCEL. “We urge the president to work with Congress and state legislators to increase funding for public land management and boost the surrounding local economies.”

Economic benefits also have value in outdoor recreation and tourism. According to the 2017 Outdoor Recreation Economy Report by the Outdoor Industry Association, public lands, including national monuments, national parks, and national wildlife refuges created a significant amount of economic output.

“Public support for protecting special places is strong, and many small communities increasingly depend on tourism and the growing outdoor recreation economy,” said Ranker. “The effort to eliminate or shrink national monuments risks $45 billion generated nationwide by public lands, including national monuments.”

Hawai‘iʻs Child Well-Being 17th in Latest National Rankings

Economic conditions may finally be improving, and families continue to offer a strong foundation for Hawaiʻi’s children, according to the 2017 KIDS COUNT Data Book released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The Data Book, which examines trends in child well-being during the post-recession years, found that Hawaiʻi now ranks 23 in child economic well-being, and 17 for child well-being overall.

“We’re seeing a steady decrease in the number of children living in families where the parents lack secure employment,” says Ivette Rodriguez Stern, the Hawaiʻi KIDS COUNT project director at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Center on the Family. “As parental employment improves, we begin to see improvements in other indicators of economic well-being.”

The rate of children living in households with a high housing cost burden—defined as a household spending more than 30 percent or more of income on housing—is one indicator that has steadily improved, decreasing from 46 percent in 2010 to 38 percent in 2015. However, Hawaiʻi still has among the worst housing cost burden rates in the nation, ranking 46th for this indicator.

“High housing costs remain a significant challenge in our state. When families spend so much of their income on housing, they have fewer resources to meet other basic needs. We all—including government and the private sector—need to come together to build more affordable housing in Hawaiʻi,” said Nicole Woo, senior policy analyst at the Hawaiʻi Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice.

Despite some improvements on individual indicators, Hawaiʻi is lagging in the education domain, ranking 36th. Although there have been some improvements in reading and math proficiency, Hawaiʻi’s children are still below national proficiency rates and more than half of 3- and 4-year-olds are not enrolled in preschool programs.

“Access to high-quality, affordable child care and preschool must remain a priority in our state,” said Barbara DeBaryshe, interim director of the UH Center on the Family. “Strong programs support school readiness and give an extra boost to children facing the difficult odds of poverty or family hardship. Sadly, we simply do not have enough child care seats in our state, especially for infants and toddlers. We need policy incentives that allow providers to serve more children, give families more assistance paying for care and help more programs reach quality benchmarks. Investments in our keiki now will have large payoffs in the future.”

Significant Hawaiʻi findings

The annual KIDS COUNT Data Book uses 16 indicators to rank each state across four domains that represent what children need most to thrive. Findings for Hawaiʻi include the following:

  • Three of four economic indicators—the percentage of children whose parents lack secure employment, children in households with a high housing cost burden, and teens not in school and not working—have improved since the release of the 2016 KIDS COUNT Data Book. The percentage of children living in poverty has failed to improve past 2010 levels and returned to 14 percent in 2015.
  • There were improvements in three of the four indicators in the education domain compared to 2010 data—reading and math proficiency and the percentage of high schoolers graduating on time—however, the percentage of 3- and 4-year-olds not in preschool increased by 18 percent from 2010 to 2015.
  • With only 2 percent of our children lacking health insurance coverage, Hawaiʻi continues to lead the nation in health, ranking eighth in this domain. This represents a 50 percent decrease in the percentage of kids without insurance compared to 2010.
  • Hawaiʻi is also doing well in the family and community context, ranking 10th in this domain. The teen birth rate has continued an impressive decline of 36 percent since 2010, and we have fewer children living in high poverty neighborhoods in 2015 than in 2010.

Besides emphasizing investments in early childhood education programs, with the Data Book, the Annie E. Casey Foundation demonstrates the need for protecting health insurance coverage for children and expanding programs that create economic stability for families at the state and federal levels.

“We’ve done well in making sure that our children have health insurance coverage. However, health care reforms that limit federal funds coming to our state for Medicaid or that allow insurers to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions will threaten the well-being of our most vulnerable children and youth. We must continue to work hard at all levels to make sure that coverage is not jeopardized,” said Stern.

Woo adds, “On a positive note, this year the Legislature approved a state earned income tax credit (EITC). Unfortunately, the state credit is non-refundable, which will limit tax refunds available to families when the amount of their EITC is larger than what they owe in state income tax. Nevertheless, this is a great start and represents breakthrough legislation that supports low-income families and children in our state.”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Statement on One-Year Anniversary of Tragic Orlando Shooting

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02), a Member of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, released the following statement in remembrance of last year’s shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida.  She is an original co-sponsor of a resolution introduced in the House of Representatives today which commemorates the one year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida – June 12, 2016.

“On the one year anniversary of the tragic Pulse Nightclub shooting, we mourn the 49 innocent men and women who lost their lives, and our hearts go out to the survivors, friends, families, and the larger Orlando community. If there is any lesson to be learned from this injustice, it is that we must continue to fight to ensure the safety and equality of all people regardless of their sexual orientation,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

The 49 people who died in the shooting are Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34; Stanley Almodovar III, 23; Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20; Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22; Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36; Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22; Luis S. Vielma, 22; Kimberly Morris, 37; Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30; Darryl Roman Burt II, 29; Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32; Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21; Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25; Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35; Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50; Amanda Alvear, 25; Martin Benitez Torres, 33; Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37; Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26; Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35; Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25; Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31; Oscar A. Aracena-Montero, 26; Enrique L. Rios Jr., 25; Miguel Angel Honorato, 30; Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40; Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32; Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19; Cory James Connell, 21; Luis Daniel Conde, 39; Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33; Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25; Jerald Arthur Wright, 31; Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25; Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25; Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24; Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27; Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33; Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49; Yilmary Rodriguez Sulivan, 24; Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32; Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28; Frank Hernandez, 27; Paul Terrell Henry, 41; Antonio Davon Brown, 29; Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24; Akyra Monet Murray, 18; and Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25.

Background:  Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has a strong record advocating on behalf of the LGBT community. She has co-sponsored and supported civil rights and anti-LGBT discrimination legislation like the Respect for Marriage Act, the Repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, the Equality Act, and the Equality for All Resolution. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is also a Member of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, whose mission is to promote LGBT equality in the U.S. and around the world.

Steal a Doritos Locos Tacos From Taco Bell on June 13th

With the Golden State Warriors “stealing a game” from Cleveland Cavaliers in Cleveland… folks around the United States can obtain a FREE Doritos Locos Taco from Taco Bell:
Details:

Consumers may obtain one (1) Free Taco during the Promotion Window on Tuesday, June 13, 2017 while supplies last. To obtain the Free Taco, Eligible Consumers must visit and be in line at any participating Taco Bell® restaurant between 2:00 p.m. and 6:00p.m. on the Redemption Date only and request a Free Taco.

Free Taco will not be offered at a consumer’s request on any other date or time, regardless of circumstance, but Taco Bell reserves the right to change the redemption date at its sole discretion for some or all participating Taco Bell restaurants.

Participating Taco Bell restaurant managers reserve the right to deny Free Taco to any person they reasonably believe has already received a Taco or has engaged in any other fraudulent activity. Free Taco offer is subject to store availability and Taco Bell reserves the right at its sole discretion to substitute an item of equal or greater value due to unavailability; any difference in value will not be awarded. All Taco Bell managers’ decisions are final regarding Free Taco offer.

GENERAL CONDITIONS : As a condition of the offer, each Eligible Consumer who participates in the Promotion agrees (a) to be bound by these Terms and Conditions; (b) to release and hold harmless the National Basketball Association, each of their parent, subsidiary, affiliated and related entities, any entity which, now or in the future, controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with the teams and the owners, general and limited partners, shareholders, directors, officers, employees, agents, representatives, successors and assigns of the foregoing entities (hereinafter, “NBA Entities”), Sponsor and each of their respective affiliates, subsidiaries, retailers, licensees, sales representatives, distributors and franchisees, and each of their officers, directors, employees and agents (“Promotional Parties”) from any and all claims, demands, losses, promises, causes of action, injuries, damages and/or liabilities, that may arise, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, from the participation in this Promotion or from the receipt, unavailability or use or misuse of the Free Taco, or any travel or activity related to the receipt or use of the Free Taco; (c) that under no circumstances will Eligible Consumer be permitted to obtain awards for, and Eligible Consumer hereby waives all rights to claim, punitive, incidental, special, consequential, or any other damages, other than for actual out-of-pocket expenses; (d) that all causes of action arising out of or connected with this Promotion or any Free Taco (or the unavailability thereof) or any advertising, marketing, promotion or publicity materials in connection therewith, shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action; (e) that any and all claims, judgments, and award shall be limited to actual out-of-pocket costs incurred, excluding attorneys’ fees and court costs; and (f) that all issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Terms and Conditions, Eligible Consumer’s rights and obligations, or the rights and obligations of the Sponsor in connection with this Promotion, shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the laws of State of California, without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules. In the event there is a discrepancy or inconsistency between Announcements and these Terms and Conditions, these Terms and Conditions shall prevail, govern and control and the discrepancy will be resolved in Taco Bell’s sole and absolute discretion. This Promotion may be modified or terminated at any time without notice at the sole discretion of Sponsor.

By participating, Eligible Consumers consent to the exclusive jurisdiction and venue of the federal, state and local courts for Irvine, California for the resolution of any disputes related to this Promotion.