Maui News

VIDEO: Kahoʻolawe Island Reserve Gains Exemption

June 28, 2013, 5:33 PM HST
* Updated June 28, 5:35 PM
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[flashvideo file=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5vtQ7J8r8E /] By Wendy Osher

Governor Neil Abercrombie signed a bill into law today that supports the Kahoʻolawe Island Reserve Commission in fulfilling its responsibilities.

House Bill 1328 also provides the KIRK with flexibility to contract with food and fuel vendors in making procurement exemptions permanent.

On a historical note, the governor reflected on the history of the island, the former use of the island for target bombing practice, and the subsequent fight for the island’s return.

Governor Neil Abercrombie. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Governor Neil Abercrombie. Photo by Wendy Osher.

“There’s been a ubiquitous presence of Kahoʻolawe in your lives over the past few years, but let me tell you, it was not that way before 1990–quite the opposite,” said Gov. Abercrombie.

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“When we were first in the legislature, the island was being bombed–it was used as a bombing run.  You all know the story of those who actually had given their lives with respect to the return of Kahoʻolawe.  It became a political issue for the United States of America, and the Senate race, with regard to its return,” said Gov. Abercrombie.

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The governor said in recognition of the long history of the island, he signed the bill with special refection on the late Frenchy DeSoto, who according to Honolulu Star Advertiser archives, was an active member of the Protect Kahoʻolawe Ohana and passionate advocate for Hawaiian rights.

Governor Abercrombie described DeSoto as “a mentor to many… in terms of raising consciousness forward about what Kahoʻolawe meant, could mean, and should mean to us–in terms of respect; in terms of awakening the consciousness within ourselves of our obligations to Hawaiʻi.”

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