Thursday, July 11, 2013
Another state management failure: Kaho‘olawe Rehabilitation Trust Fund almost dried up with little to show for $51 million
by Larry Geller
The state auditor posted a new report today: Audit of the Kaho‘olawe Rehabilitation Trust Fund (pdf) and it isn’t pretty.
After 18 years and $51 million, the commission has partially restored approximately 13 percent of its planned restoration area, but is a long way from its vision of returning the island and surrounding waters to pristine conditions. We found that the commission has not established a comprehensive plan for its restoration effort, including forecasts regarding how much the project will cost and when it will likely be completed. As a result, spending has outpaced revenues and the trust fund, which contained as much as $33.6 million in FY2004, has been whittled down to $6.5 million. Despite the commission’s efforts to curtail operations and fundraise, at its current rate of spending the trust fund will be depleted by 2016.
… we found that the resource management plan does not include meaningful performance measures to gauge whether objectives are being met, and lacks cost estimates for the actions the commission wants to pursue. Without a comprehensive restoration plan, it is nearly impossible to assess project feasibility as well as definitively measure progress towards goals, evaluate the areas still to be restored, or plan for spending and timing of execution.
This snip is from the summary page.
The report includes some history of the island that people may not be familiar with. I’ll include here just the first part—please read the rest in the report.
Kaho‘olawe is the smallest of eight main islands in the Hawaiian archipelago, located just southwest of Maui. The island is culturally and historically significant. Archeological evidence suggests that Hawaiians came to Kaho‘olawe as early as 400 A.D. and used it as a base for ocean voyaging, an adze quarry, an agricultural center, and a site for religious and cultural ceremonies. Starting in the late 1700s, Kaho‘olawe was used as a place to raise goats, cattle, and sheep; and later served as a penal colony from 1826 to 1853. In 1941, Kaho‘olawe came under the jurisdiction of the federal government and was used as a bombing range by the U.S. Navy. In 1990, President George H. W. Bush discontinued this practice; however, decades of bombing left the island and its surrounding waters littered with unexploded munitions, or ordnance (UXO). Although the island has been significantly cleaned up by the U.S. Navy, the presence of lingering UXO continues to be dangerous to island visitors.
Once a penal colony, perhaps the best idea is to gave the island revert to a prison island. That would solve several problems at once particularly if inmates were required to do community service clean up on the island.
It's too dangerous for civilian work. The military knows how to dispose of ordinance, anyone else would just get blown up or poisoned or something.
Before the money's all gone, they should get independent testing for depleted uranium to see if it's safe for anyone to go there. I think the Navy lied.
It belongs to the inherent sovereign and the stateʻs bullshit meandering with the KIRC to clean it up is nothing more than an attempt to keep it under their control and suck more dollars for some idiots to keep a job.
So what happened to the fund? $51,000,000.00 is a lot of money. Who is beheld accountable? The clean up that of the Military. They how to make of mess of it but don't want to clean up their own damn mess.