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AG: Geothermal money belongs to Hawaiians

State Attorney General David Louie released a formal opinion on who the royalties from geothermal energy belong to, today.

From the press release:

HONOLULU – 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.

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.

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Announcing Summit Magazine

The new premium quarterly will present an updated take on Hawaii, with a focus on presenting Hawaii's best to the world. Purchase your pre-sale subscription here!

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Help for Hawaiʻi island’s bug battle

With assaults from two highly pervasive pests destroying iconic big island crops, the Legislature is working on bills that would send funding to reinforce Hawaiʻi's farmers.

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Aikea rallies against condo conversion

The job preservation movement, organized by Unite Here Local 5, rallied at Honolulu Hale today in support of City Bill 16.

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Legislation for Hawaiʻi’s keiki

Yesterday, the House and Senate Committees on Education (EDN, EDU) met to discuss education bills that have crossed over from each chamber.

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Homeless Bill of Rights falls short for houseless

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Long-time lobbyist goes legit

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Facts, not faith, support sovereignty

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Rep. Wooley nominated for director of the OEQC

If confirmed, would leave the Hawai‘i State Legislature to serve in the Office of Environmental Quality Control

From the governor’s press release:

HONOLULU — Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced that subject to her confirmation by the state Senate, he has appointed Jessica Wooley to serve as the state’s Director of Environmental Control. In addition to serving as the head of the Office of Environmental Quality Control (OEQC), Wooley will serve the Governor in an advisory capacity on all matters relating to environmental quality control.

“Jessica is knowledgeable and experienced in issues pertaining to the environment, water resources, agriculture and land use,” said Gov. Neil Abercrombie. “Her legal and public service background will be a great asset in protecting Hawaii’s fragile environment. Her energy and commitment to the issues involved with the OEQC is a big plus for Hawaii.”

“Today I am announcing that, if confirmed, I will be leaving the Hawaii State Legislature to work as the OEQC Director,” Jessica Wooley said. “As a public servant, I see this as a tremendous opportunity to have a greater impact. I will be honored to work with the Governor and his administration as we continually work to make sure our environment is resilient and able to support the public interest and all of Hawaii’s policy goals. We must always keep in mind that our very economy, our health and our safety depend on our ability to care for our environmental resources.”

Elected in 2008, Wooley currently represents District 48 (Kahaluu-Ahuimanu-Kaneohe) in the state House, serving as chair of the Agriculture Committee. Previously, she was an attorney at Legal Aid, an economist at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and Deputy Attorney General under Governors Ben Cayetano and Linda Lingle.

Wooley earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of California, Santa Cruz, along with a master’s degree in agricultural and resource economics and a Juris Doctor from the University of California Berkeley.

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Syngenta employee to run for Kauaʻi council seat

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