Hawaii DOT Refusal to Switch Out Lights Means Likely Federal Indictment

Nathan Eagle/Honolulu Civil Beat

The U.S. Department of Justice says that Hawaii's street lights are killing endangered birds, turtles and moths — and it's threatening criminal action to get the state to fix the problem.

In response, Hawaii has lawyered up to fight the multi-year federal probe.

The DOJ notified the state Department of Transportation in December that its lights are killing a considerable number of wedge-tailed shearwaters on Oahu, which are protected along with the moths and turtles under the Endangered Species Act or Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

To defend the state in the threatened criminal case, the attorney general’s office in January got the OK to spend up to $150,000 on outside legal counsel.

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