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All Royalties Derived From Geothermal Resources Development on Hawaiian Home Lands Must Benefit Native Hawaiians

Attorney General David M. Louie announced today that he has issued a Formal Opinion concluding that 100% of the royalties derived from geothermal resources development on Hawaiian home lands must be used for the benefit of native Hawaiians.

Puna Geothermal Venture

Puna Geothermal Venture

Attorney General Louie has announced that he has issued Formal Opinion No. 14-1 (Op. No. 14-1) in which he has concluded that pursuant to article XII, sections 1 and 3, of the Hawaii State Constitution, and section 4 of the Admissions Act, 100% of the royalties derived from geothermal resource development on Hawaiian home lands must be paid to the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) to be used for the benefit of native Hawaiians.

As a compact with the United States upon admission of Hawaii as a state, Hawaii accepted responsibility to manage and dispose of the Hawaiian home lands under the terms of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, 1920, as amended (HHCA). Section 203 of the HHCA describes the lands that comprise the Hawaiian Home lands (also known as the “available lands”). The Admissions Act provides that “all proceeds and income from the ‘available lands’, as defined by the [HHCA], shall be used only in carrying out the provisions of [the HHCA].”

Attorney General Louie stated that “following a comprehensive legal analysis by the capable deputy attorneys general in my office, I have concluded that the DHHL has the right to receive all proceeds and income from the available lands, including 100% of the royalties derived from geothermal resource development.” Based on the analysis of sections 204 and 206 of the HHCA, the opinion also concludes that DHHL is the state entity authorized to manage geothermal resources on Hawaiian home lands.

“I hope that by issuing Op. No. 14-1, the Legislature and the community will have a greater appreciation of the constitutional and legal foundation for DHHL’s rights to the economic benefits of geothermal resource development on Hawaiian home lands.”

A copy of Op. No. 14-1 can be reviewed and downloaded at Op. No. 14-1 Letter to the Honorable Jobie M.K. Masagatani, Chairman, Hawaiian Home Commission, Regarding Management and Disposition of Geothermal Resources on DHHL Lands<http://ag.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/AG-Opinion-14-1.pdf>.

Hawaii House Approves Bill That Could Threaten Kamehameha Schools’ Rights to Use and Disposition of its Lands

Aloha mai kākou,

This message is to let you know about a bill currently in the Hawai’i State Legislature that has the potential to seriously threaten Kamehameha Schools’ right to determine the future use and disposition of its lands. The bill, House Bill 1829, House Draft 2 (HB1829 HD2), has been approved in the state House of Representatives and has now crossed over to the state Senate for consideration.

If passed, HB1829 HD2 would hurt Kamehameha’s ability to generate income from its commercial and industrial properties — land that provides substantial, direct support to Kamehameha’s educational programs, initiatives and services.

Over time, the bill would give lessees a portion of the land’s value without fair compensation to Kamehameha Schools. This, in turn, would diminish the economic value of the land to Kamehameha Schools and create pressure on the trust to sell despite its long-held practice and desire to exercise its right to self-determination over the use and disposition of its lands.

In addition, HB1829 HD2 would, at the expense of private landowners, impose state government regulation in a process currently guided by free market conditions.

We ask for your attention in this matter. If HB1829 HD2 is scheduled for a hearing in the next few days, we will update you on its status. Stay tuned!

Mahalo nui for your consideration of this issue and for your continued support of Kamehameha Schools’ mission and purpose.

House Advances Measure Designating October as Kalo Appreciation Month

In 2008, the Legislature designated the “kalo,” the Hawaiian word for taro, as the state plant. Today, the House of Representatives advanced a bill (HB2809) that would make October Kalo Appreciation Month. The measure will now crossover to the Senate for consideration.

The purpose of the bill is to promote kalo cultivation and appreciation, as it is a culturally significant plant to the kanaka maoli, Hawaii’s indigenous peoples, and to the State of Hawaii.

In testimony in support of the measure before the House Agriculture Committee, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs stated, “This would be an opportunity to showcase the kalo plant and perpetuate the historic cultural, spiritual and health-related importance of kalo. No other plant more suitably represents Hawaii.”

The measure was introduced by Representatives Faye Hanohano, Angus McKelvey and Jessica Wooley.

The Importance of the Census to the Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Island Communities

This informational program explains how communities benefit from Census Bureau data collection efforts. Testimonials describe the importance of a complete count to the Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander community and why the 2010 Census will be the most important count in our nation’s history.