The Associated Press - Former Gov. Linda Lingle said last week that a federal proposal to designate areas on and around the main Hawaiian Islands as critical habitat for the endangered Hawaiian monk seal is insensitive and an example of "government over-reach."
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently proposed designating areas on and around Hawai'i's developed islands-and not just in the remote Northwestern Hawaiian Islands-as protected areas for the species. It was in response to a petition filed by environmental groups in 2008. Lingle released a statement saying that she supports protecting endangered species, but she wants the government to postpone action until the "economic and social consequences to the people are fully understood and addressed." The former two-term Republican governor announced last month that she's running for U.S. Senate. The proposed designation would cover 4,787 square miles-nearly 75 percent of the size of the state, she said.