PLDC Schedules New Public Hearing But Will Anyone Be Able To Go?

Sophie Cocke/ Civil Beat

UPDATED: 11/9/2012 10:45 a.m.

The last time the state Public Land Development Corporation held public hearings on controversial new rules for the agency hundreds of people showed up at meetings all over the state to demand that the PLDC be abolished.

Another hearing on another version of those rules is scheduled for next week in the same small Honolulu meeting room that forced an overflowing crowd out of the room. And the Tuesday hearing has been set for 10:30 a.m., a time agency critics say is aimed at ensuring as few people as possible will be able to attend.

“I think it is pretty obvious by what they are doing, that they really don’t want a lot of public input,” said Robert Harris, executive director of the Hawaii Sierra Club.

Lloyd Haraguchi, executive director of the PLDC, didn't return a phone call Thursday, but told Civil Beat last month that the meeting was scheduled during the day so that board members might be able to attend. Critics had accused PLDC board members of ducking the last meetings because they were so controversial. William Aila, chair of DLNR, was the only member to attend.

But as of Thursday, the meeting is still set for the small DLNR board room on Tuesday morning.

The Sierra Club calls it "a new low" for the agency that is responsible for enlisting the help of private companies to develop public lands.

PLDC supporters say the agency, created last year, will bring in revenue for the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources to help further its conservation mission as well as shore up aging state infrastructure and facilities.

But the PLDC has met stiff resistance. The first hearings in August attracted nearly 700 people throughout the islands, most of whom came to call for the repeal of the PLDC, warning that it threatened the state’s cultural and environmental resources.

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