Rep. Cynthia Thielen introduced House Bill 9 to repeal the controversial Public Land Development Corporation.
The PLDC was established in 2011 to act as the development arm of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. The PLDC was created to help develop recreational and leisure centers for residents and visitors and create revenue-generating opportunities to fund environmental and resource preservation functions of the DLNR.
However, according to Rep. Thielen, some of the most controversial aspects of the PLDC were not properly vetted to the public. These controversial aspects include the PLDC's exemption from state environmental review laws and local zoning ordinances, among others. Many of these exemptions were added during hearings in which the public did not receive an adequate opportunity to testify.
Thielen said, “The powers and exemptions granted to the PLDC pose a significant threat to the environmental health of the state. When you add in the fact that the exemptions for environmental laws were added in a last minute session where the public did not have an opportunity to testify, it makes the PLDC seem illegitimate. There are definitely things that the state of Hawaii can do to make development of public lands less cumbersome, but sneaking exemptions into a bill at the last second without public participation is not one of them."
Thielen believes that the PLDC has been permanently tainted and will always carry a stigma of illegitimacy.
“Coupled with the overly-broad exemptions of environmental reviews and land-use zoning, the PLDC has already irreparably damaged its image and needs to be repealed,” Rep. Thielen said.