Gov. Abercrombie has effectively punted the controversial Public Land Development Corp. (PLDC) back to the state Legislature, which could move to amend or repeal the hotly debated Act 55 in its next session.
In the face of continuing public opposition, Abercrombie asked the five-member PLDC Board to stop meeting and halt its rule-making process until community concerns can be addressed. He also directed William Aila, director of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, to conduct outreach meetings with stakeholder groups that offered suggestions on how the PLDC rules could be revised.
Many citizens, however, have called for an outright repeal, citing concerns about circumventing home rule and environmental and cultural safeguards. Some key lawmakers, such as Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz and Sen. President Shan Tsutsui, have expressed a willingness to revisit the law. The measure was intended to spur development of public lands to generate revenue for the DLNR, but was dubbed “grand theft `aina” by the Sierra Club and other critics who feared it was a means to fast-track projects and stymie public input.
Since the PLDC is the creation of the state Legislature, Abercrombie said in a statement, “Lawmakers will ultimately be the ones to decide its future.”