The Hawaii Supreme Court ruled Friday that the state has not properly managed lands leased to the military on the Big Island.
The state Department of Land and Natural Resources leases more than 20,000 acres of land in Pohakuloa to the military for training for just $1 a year. Part of the military’s lease states that DLNR must monitor activities and ensure that trash and unexploded ordnance is removed.
Cultural practitioners who use the land found spent shell casings and other ordnance, the opinion says.
“As trustee, the State must take an active role in preserving trust property and may not passively allow it to fall into ruin,” the high court wrote in its 101-page opinion.
The large parcel of land was once part of more than 2 million acres owned by the Kingdom of Hawaii. Those lands were transferred to the state, and most are managed by DLNR.
The opinion Friday affirms a lower court ruling, which stated that the state must make reasonable efforts to preserve and protect the land.
The Supreme Court ruling also affirmed a Circuit Court order that the state must develop a plan for on-site inspections.
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 email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @blaze_lovell