David Ige, the Hawaii state senator seeking to unseat a sitting governor, today shared plans to accelerate clean energy initiatives, protect the environment and grow more food.

“Much has been promised on these issues, but where are real results?” Ige said in a press release following a press conference midday at Kewalo Basin Park.

If Ige is able to defeat Neil Abercrombie in the Democratic primary, he says he will “take immediate action” on the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative target of 70 percent clean energy by 2030. He said as well that he would “preserve prime farmland and up the local share of food consumption” from 10 percent to 20 percent by 2020.

Ige also criticized the governor for “indecisiveness” on whether to reappoint Mina Morita, the chairwoman of the Public Utility Commission, to a new term.


State Sen. David Ige at Kewalo Basin Park, June 7, 2014.

Ige for Governor

On another front, Ige said Abercrombie promised an “Agricultural Renaissance’”with local farm products and protected green space.

“Yet he turned 2,130 acres of Oahu’s prime agriculture land — 20 percent of the island’s irrigated farmland total — into an urban development,” he said.

And the senator said the problem of invasive species has only worsened, pointing to the coconut rhinoceros beetle, dart frog, “an array of snakes, and, worst of all on Oahu, a coqui frog and little fire ant invasion.”

Finally, Ige said he would advocate at the federal level for labeling food that has been genetically engineered and “enforce restricted-use pesticides laws.”

In a statement of response, Bill Kaneko, Abercrombie’s campaign manager, countered that Ige “has a poor record of achievement on the environment. It is clear the only way he has to bolster his position is to unfairly attack Gov. Abercrombie.”

“It is easy to complain about our challenges, or make big promises to win votes.” —Abercrombie campaign manager Bill Kaneko

Kaneko cited several Abercrombie accomplishments, including establishing the state’s first sustainability coordinator position (held by Jackie Kozak Thiell), leading the effort to protect fresh water resources through the “Rain Follows the Forest” Watershed Initiative and preserving land at Turtle Bay.

The administration, Kaneko said, had re-established staff positions to combat invasive species and was “currently working on providing additional resources including $5 million from the 2014 legislative session.”

The administration also, he said, helped to resolve the “decade-long impasse “on the use of waters from Iao, Waihee, Waiehu and Waikapu streams on Maui.

And, Kaneko says the governor helped acquire 1,200 acres of agricultural land from the Galbraith Estate in Central Oahu.

“It is easy to complain about our challenges, or make big promises to win votes,” said Kaneko. “Gov. Abercrombie believes that leadership means working to solve problems, and doing what’s right for the people of Hawaii.”

Kaneko did not say anything about the PUC, GMOs or pesticides.



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