Dear OTC Members,
On December 31, 2019, the Hon. Judge Cardoza ruled that the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ (DLNR) issuance of commercial use permits to the Kaanapali Ocean Recreation Management Area does not constitute an ‘action’ and is therefore not subject to the requirements of HRS Chapter 343 (including Environmental Impact Study/Environmental Assessment requirements). This is an important victory for every member across the state, as an adverse ruling could have led to the non-renewal of every commercial use permit issued by DLNR for a specific area across the state (e.g., Waikiki Beach, Molokini Crater, Honolua Bay, Napali Coast, etc.,). Thank you again Capt. Andy, Mendy & Puhi Dant, the Kaanapali operators, Phil Kasper, and many others who helped fund our strong legal defense. However, this is likely not the end of this important battle, as the plaintiffs still have time to file an appeal of the judge’s decision, and additional support for this important issue will likely be needed. If you would like to know more or would like to join this fight, please contact OTC.
In addition, the upcoming Legislative Session beginning January 17, 2019 is sure to include many bills that will potentially impact the ocean tourism industry. Your help writing testimony to our legislators and letting them know whether you support or oppose a bill is greatly appreciated and goes a long way in their decision making. Legislatives updates will be posted to www.oceantourismcoalition.org during the legislative session, so please check the site frequently to see which bills OTC is tracking and how you can help.
Aloha and Happy New Year.