Gov. David Ige has pulled back on one of his picks for the state land board who has generated some community opposition in the past for his support of controversial projects, including the Na Pua Makani wind farm in Kahuku and the Thirty Meter Telescope.
On March 31 Ige withdrew his nomination for Sam Gon III, who the governor first appointed to the Board of Land and Natural Resources in 2015.
Ige did not elaborate on why he withdrew Gon’s nomination. He first served on the board from 2006 to 2014. His current term expires June 30.
“We very much appreciate the more than three terms Dr. Gon has served on the BLNR. We thank him for his dedication and service and wish him the best,” Ige said in a statement.
Gon’s nomination never got to a hearing in the Senate, which has the authority to confirm the governor’s nominees to certain positions.
Sen. Lorraine Inouye, chairwoman of the Senate Water and Land Committee that would have evaluated Gon’s nomination, said she did not know why Ige withdrew Gon’s nomination. She said the governor never contacted the Senate to explain why.
“He sends nominees and takes back nominees,” Inouye said.
Gon didn’t reply to an email seeking comment.
Gon’s position on the BLNR was at the center of a challenge to the Kahuku wind farm’s permit to kill bats. A community group argues that Gon improperly participated in voting on the plan.
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Blaze Lovell is a reporter for Civil Beat and a graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He was born and raised on Oahu. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @blaze_lovell