Endangered Species Bill Passes Key Senate Committee

Media Release:

Yesterday, SB 2441 introduced by 2010 Lieutenant Governor candidate, Sen. Gary Hooser, was approved and passed out of a joint committee hearing of the Senate’s Energy and Environment Committee and Water and Land Committee. The bill proposes changing the existing penalty for intentionally or knowingly harming or killing a Hawaiian Monk Seal or other endangered species in Hawaii from a misdemeanor to a Class C felony. Sen. Mike Gabbard, chairman of the committee, spoke with Sen. Hooser, Rep. Chris Lee, and several community activists in support of the bill at a press conference yesterday before hearings in the Senate.

“It is time to take action and address Hawaii’s bad reputation of being the endangered species capital of the world,” said Sen. Hooser. Sen. Hooser’s campaign for Lieutenant Governor is focused on “educational excellence, energy independence, and environmental protection to create a vigorous and sustainable economy.”

SB 2441 recognizes the exceptional biodiversity of the Hawaiian Islands while citing human activity as the cause for massive species extinctions. Two recent killings of Hawaiian Monk Seals, one on Kaua‘i and one on Moloka‘i have brought attention to the this issue. “On Molokai’s,” said Walter Ritte, “we really don’t get involved with things close to the heart. But there’s only 1,400 left and without action, we’re definitely going to lose the Hawaiian Monk Seal.”

“We need more education for both tourists and kama’aina,” said Kim Rogers, of Kaua‘i, who also flew in to testify before the Senate. “These are wild animals and should be treated that way.”

The Save Our Seal campaign is a statewide non-governmental effort coordinated by Keiko Bonk, Program Director for Marine Conservation Biology Institute. It includes Hawaii’s key conservation and cultural advocacy groups such as the Sierra Club, The Snorkel Bob Foundation, the Surfrider Foundation, Maui Tomorrow and many more.

“Our Hawaiian seal, found nowhere else on earth, has become an icon for saving Hawaii’s natural environment, our rural lifestyle and local culture,” said Bonk.

Sen. Hooser’s commitment to the environment is also expressed in the carbon-neutral stance he has adopted for the conduct of his campaign for Lieutenant Governor. Read more about his positions on critical issues at www.garyhooser.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I do this to keep the spammers away * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.