HDOT comment on the intent to sue notice from Earthjustice for alleged violations of the Endangered Species ActPosted on Jun 23, 2017 in Main, News
HONOLULU – The Hawaii Department of Transportation (“HDOT”) is tasked with ensuring that the State of Hawaii’s transportation facilities including its airports and harbors are run in a way that protects the safety and well-being of its citizenry. These facilities play a vital role in the life and economy of the State. Currently, 80% of all goods consumed in the State are imported with over 98% of those goods being shipped through Hawaii’s commercial harbors. HDOT also operates the airport system which services more than 34 million total passengers who fly to and from Hawaii each year.
As a trustee of the State’s environmental resources and as required by law, the HDOT also always works to ensure that these facilities are operated in ways that are protective of the Islands’ sensitive resources including threatened and endangered species. To that end, HDOT recently expended hundreds of millions of dollars to install energy efficient lighting improvements at the State airports and commercial harbors to avoid impacts to sensitive species on the Islands as well as millions of dollars to safely translocate the endangered Nene away from airport facilities. HDOT also continues to work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other federal agencies to ensure that operation of the facilities minimize environmental impacts and are consistent with state and federal laws.
On June 15, 2017, the HDOT received a notice dated June 15, 2017 from Earthjustice declaring its intent to sue HDOT on behalf of Hui Hoomalu i Ka Aina, the Conservation Council for Hawaii, and the Center for Biological Diversity for alleged violations of the Endangered Species Act in connection with the HDOT’s operation of the State’s airport and harbor facilities. While HDOT cannot comment on the specific allegations given the threatened litigation, HDOT has and will continue to operate its facilities in manners which are protective of all sensitive species and are consistent with legal requirements.