Over 500 environmental scientists from over 50 countries are urging the U.S. military to spend $1 billion to remove unexploded ordnance on Kahoolawe and restore its environment.
The group of 512 scientists who attended the 52nd annual conference of the Association of Tropical Biology and Conservation in Honolulu last week signed a declaration calling for the state or the federal government to fund “the full remediation and biocultural restoration of the island.”
The island off the coast of Maui was used as a bombing range by the U.S. military for decades. The U.S. Navy never finished clearing unexploded ordnance and the state only set aside $2 million for restoration efforts over the next two years.
Volunteers clean part of the trail on Kahoolawe between Honoko’a and Honokanai’a dotted with leave trees, dry scrub and rocks on Sept. 28, 2014.
PF Bentley/Civil Beat
That’s less than half of the money that Kahoolawe Island Reserve Commission requested from lawmakers this year, leaving the state agency scrambling to fund its environmental work on the island.
“The full biocultural restoration of Kaho’olawe is important not only for Hawai‘i and native Hawaiians, but as a model for how restoration could be achieved following demilitarisation anywhere in the world,” the scientists’ declaration says.
They are calling for $700 million to get rid of the remaining ordnance and $300 million to mitigate erosion, remove invasive animals and restore native plants.