The Maui News - After receiving more than 800 emails from residents in three days earlier this month, the Hawai'i State Association of Counties joined the chorus of opponents asking for the repeal of Act 55, the law that established the Public Land Development Corp. HSAC President Mel Rapozo, a Kaua'i County Council member, announced the organization voted unanimously to lobby for the law's repeal in the 2013 legislative session.
The act, passed last session, allows the corporation to develop state lands to generate revenue for the cash-strapped state Department of Land and Natural Resources. But the organization is too autonomous and powerful, said critics like Senate President Shan Tsutsui, who represents Central Maui.
"The governor has said, 'Give this a chance, and let's see where it goes first,'" said Donalyn Dela Cruz, spokeswoman for Gov. Neil Abercrombie. She also said project proposals would be beholden to each community. The board must go through "tons of [public] meetings and major steps along the way," she added.
"The public should give PLDC a chance and judge it on (the) projects it proposes," said DLNR and PLDC Chairman William Aila Jr. via email Wednesday. "Calls for repeal are premature."
Nevertheless, Tsutsui said he would introduce bills to repeal or rein in the PLDC, and West Maui state Rep. Angus McKelvey agreed.