homepage logo

Governor signs bills on public lands into law

By Staff | Jun 2, 2011

From left, Senators Donovan Dela Cruz and Malama Solomon, and Representatives Sharon Har and Jerry Chang watch Gov. Neil Abercrombie signing Senate Bills 2 and 1555 into law. Photo courtesy of Senate Communications.

HONOLULU — Gov. Neil Abercrombie recently signed two bills relating to public lands into law.

Introduced by Sen. Malama Solomon, the measure, now Act 54, establishes a comprehensive information system for public lands.

The system will be used for the inventory and maintenance of information relating to the public lands trust, also known as ceded lands, and other state lands.

“Senate Bill 2, signed today by Governor Abercrombie, is a long-awaited initiative that has finally come into fruition. The land inventory required to be taken and maintained will be an all-important tool to help the State of Hawaii manage its public lands,” said Big Island Sen. Solomon.

Abercrombie also signed into law Senate Bill 1555. Introduced by Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz, the measure, now Act 55, establishes the Public Land Development Corporation that will serve as an arm of the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

The overall purpose of the corporation will be to generate revenues that may be used to offset the regulatory functions of DLNR.

The corporation is tasked to administer an appropriate and culturally sensitive program that will make optimal use of public lands for the economic, environmental and social benefit for the people of Hawaii.

It will also identify public lands that are suitable for redevelopment, administer marketing analysis to determine the best revenue-generating programs for the public lands, enter into public-private agreements to appropriately redevelop the public lands and provide the leadership for the redevelopment, financing, improvement or enhancement of the selected redevelopment opportunities.

“As the state faces a budget shortfall and departments such as the Department of Land and Natural Resources continue to see cuts in staff, it is imperative that we get this economy back on track,” said Oahu Sen. Dela Cruz.

“The DLNR will focus on the regulatory functions, while the Public Lands Corporation will focus on the revenue-generating functions,” Dela Cruz explained.

“By creating opportunities through public-private partnerships, we can revitalize our state parks, redevelop our boat harbors and create revenue-generating opportunities that result into jobs. The endgame is to get the dilapidated infrastructure and underutilized land generating revenue, so that no taxpayer money will be directed to supporting DLNR and the department will no longer need to rely on the general fund,” Dela Cruz concluded.

Both acts will go into effect on July 1, 2011.