Voicing Concerns Against SB 1171

Voicing Concerns Against SB 1171

In light of the Hawai’i Supreme Court decision that halted the multibillion-dollar rail project, the State introduced legislation that would allow for archaeological inventory surveys or AIS to be done in phases instead of a full study before construction begins. Dozens gathered at the State Capitol on Monday to voice opposition to this effort.

“This law would thereby phase out the legal obligations and moral responsibilities of the state to protect the integrity of the islands’ historic and cultural heritage,” says Ty Kāwika Tengan, Ph.D., an associate professor of Ethnic Studies and Archaeology at UH-Mānoa.

According to Society of American Archaeology member Dr. Thomas Dye, “You have to take into account the effects of a development project on historic sites in burials. If you don’t know what’s there, you can’t take into account the effect of the project. Phasing takes that away and attacks the very foundation of historic preservation. When I was historic preservation, a big part of my job there was to convince developers on a daily basis to do this early because it’s the cost effective way to do it.”

Pūlama Lima, co-chair of Hui Ola Nā Iwi, says “One of the major implications of SB 1171, if passed, is the potential that the cultural and lineal descendants of iwi kupuna that are found during construction, they will not have as much say as they want in the decision making process for the proper burial treatment plan.”

The Department of Land and Natural Resources and the State Historic Preservation Division favors passage of SB 1171 saying the measure is necessary for the development of large scale projects.

“The primary reason is for projects like long road projects which could take 20 years, you have to have that ability to build these things, build the road in segments as you’re funded as you’re going through the EIS in order to have utility, in order to have people use those roads while you build them,” says Department of Land and Natural Resources Chairperson William Aila, Jr.

“Whether we have this bill or not, it’s still the responsibility of SHPD to make sure that enough of an assessment is done so that we can get an idea of what is on that property.”

As State legislators consider the bill in conference, community members and state leaders remain committed to enacting policies that foster responsible development.

“I’ve been in this 40 years, and I’ve seen people’s ideas change. And one of the really good things from the point of view is that developers routinely understand this is an important part of what they do. They understand that they are developing in the community for a community and they want to do this in a way that the community feels good about. And they know historic sites and burials are a very important part of that,” remarked Dye.

“As a representative of the next generation, these laws they’re trying to enact are basically going to affect us and we’re the one that is going to have to fight this in the end. We are the ones who are going to have to deal with the repercussions and the outcomes of this bill. And standing from my perspective as a hanauna hou, I am opposing this because it’s going to give us issues now, it’s going to give us issues in the future. So better to stop it now,” says Lima.

For more information relating to SB 1171, visit www.kamakakoi.com

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1 Comment


  1. […] Here is a summary of concerns regarding SB1171, the bill that they are trying to pass on Tuesday. The community needs to flip 5 senators to kill the bill:  http://www.oiwi.tv/channels/news/voice-concerns-sb117/ […]

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