Governor Ige’s nomination of Carleton Ching for Chair of the Department of Land and Natural Resources is troubling.  Ching is neither academically trained nor adequately experienced to manage our complex natural resources, which are finite and limited.

Instead, his experience is as a lobbyist for one of Hawaii’s largest real estate developers.  In addition, Mr. Ching is vice-president of the Land Use Research Foundation and obviously shares LURF’s mission to “promote and advance the interests of the development community, particularly in the areas of land use laws and regulations.”

This is particularly troubling, because he actively lobbies to decrease or eliminate environmental protection laws to favor developers and development. Certainly this should be of major concern to anyone who cares about the long term protection and management of our forests, watersheds, rivers and streams, wetlands and ocean resources.

Carleton Ching candidate DLNR.  9 feb 2015. photograph Cory Lum

Carleton Ching is Gov. David Ige’s pick to head the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

The Hawaii State Constitution mandates DLNR’s mission as: “to enhance, protect, conserve and manage Hawaii’s unique and limited natural, cultural and historic resources held in public trust for current and future generations of the people of Hawaii nei, and its visitors, in partnership with others from the public and private sectors.”

Are we really seriously considering a person whose experience heavily favors the private sector to oversee and execute this crucially important mission?  Ching’s appointment to DLNR would be an indefensible risk to our natural resources.  We have the greatest number of endemic and unique natural resources in the world.  Hawaii is considered the Endangered Species Capital of the World and home to some of the most endangered ecosystems in the world.  We need a superior natural resource manager for DLNR.

From the ancient past into the distant future, Hawaii’s environmental and cultural uniqueness determine its economic success. If we choose poorly and make bad decisions today which negatively impact these resources, we can be sure the economy, culture, environment and Hawaii’s people will suffer tomorrow and for decades to come.

Aldo Leopold, conservationist, once said “We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.”

Please ask our Hawaii senators to oppose Carleton Ching’s nomination to DLNR: sens@capitol.hawaii.gov.

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