Hawaiʻi attorney Isaac Moriwake was recently named the new managing attorney for Earthjustice’s Mid-Pacific office in Honolulu, succeeding Paul Achitoff, who recently retired.
“When I joined Earthjustice over 16 years ago, I would never have dreamed of one day leading our team in Hawai‘i,” Moriwake said. “So I can’t even say this is a ‘dream come true.’ It’s been one long wave, and I’m just happy to keep riding it. It is a privilege and kuleana, or responsibility, to continue to work with our partner clients and communities to tackle the most pressing environmental and health threats in our region.”
According to Earthjustice, much of Moriwake’s work has focused on water rights and reversing the history of water diversions for sugar plantations, as he worked on a series of cases to restore river flow for local and Native Hawaiian communities. Moriwake has also dedicated his efforts to push Hawaiʻi towards a shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Hawaiʻi leads the world in rooftop solar adoption and became the first US state to commit to a 100% renewable energy goal in 2015, according to Earthjustice.
Now in its 31st year, the Mid-Pacific office has won many landmark legal cases for Hawaiʻi and the Pacific. According to Earthjustice, these victories include preventing the US military from violating the cultural rights of Native Hawaiians and other indigenous peoples in the Pacific, as well as securing protections for Hawaiʻiʻs endangered species.
“Isaac Moriwake is a great lawyer who consistently stakes out the leading edge of conservation to protect communities, defends and restores Hawaiʻi’s natural systems, and pioneers clean energy solutions that are lighting the way nationally and globally,” Earthjustice president Abigail Dillen said. “No one is better qualified to provide visionary leadership and deliver progress that people can see and feel in Hawaiʻi.”
Moriwake graduated from the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawai‘i and served as a clerk for Justice Paula A. Nakayama of the Supreme Court of the State of Hawai‘i.