HONOLULU — Gov. Josh Green announced he plans on vetoing a bill aimed at reducing the number of commercial use boating permits, something several Kaua‘i tour operators said would shut down their businesses if signed into law.
As reported by The Garden Island last month, House Bill 1090 would allow the state Department of Land and Natural Resources to reduce commercial boating operations throughout the state by canceling permits and reissuing them to various set limits.
The DLNR Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation previously stated that the bill would help manage overuse and reduce environmental impacts after receiving numerous complaints of the “over-commercialization of the state’s nearshore waters and public facilities.”
“It’s scary to give the government that control that they can just shut down businesses whenever they want or without any very specific or obvious reason,” said Candice Le Croix, a captain and manager at tour company Na Pali Experience, to The Garden Island last month.
LeCroix’s business operates out of the Kikiaola Small Boat Harbor in Kekaha, which has a launching ramp where the DLNR has issued at least 15 permits more than the set limit of 25 permits currently allowed under Hawai‘i Administrative Rules.
LeCroix previously said the bill would force the majority of boat tour operators on the westside to significantly downsize or shut down.
“It’s wild. It’s very, very sad,” she said at the time.
LeCroix was relieved to hear of Green’s plans to veto the bill, but declined to comment until the veto is made official.
The governor’s rationale for planning to veto the bill was explained in the Office of the Governor’s “Intent to Veto” statement last week.
“Hawai‘i must strategically regulate commercial uses across our shared ocean for the perpetuation of our natural and cultural resources,” according to Green’s statement.
“While the recreation commercial permitting system requires reform, our state needs to take a balanced, concerted approach so that fishermen, hundreds of local jobs, and several businesses across our islands are not adversely impacted by the sudden change in ocean recreation commercial permits.”
Green released the statement on June 23, as he was required to inform the state Legislature of all bills he planned on vetoing by June 26. There were a total of 11 bills on the governor’s veto list.
The DLNR also declined to comment on the announcement that Green intends to veto the bill.
“Until the decision from the governor’s office to veto HB 1090 (or not) is made final, we will reserve comment,” said Ryan Aguilar, a communications specialist with the DLNR, in an email response to The Garden Island on Tuesday.
Tim Lyons, executive director of the Ocean Tourism Coalition, a 501 (C) (6) corporation composed of owners of ocean tourism companies, had been critical of the bill in an interview with The Garden Island last month.
“The department (DLNR), they put it in. They can’t come along now and say, ‘Oh yeah it’s a rotten bill,’” he said at the time. “That makes themselves look stupid.”
Lyons did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the announcement of Green’s intention to veto the bill.
Green has until July 11 to deliver the final vetoes on all 11 bills on his list.
“While Governor Green is not required to issue a veto for every bill on the intent to veto list, all bills not included in the list today will become law by July 11,” said an Office of the Governor representative in an email response on Tuesday.
Emma Grunwald, reporter, can be reached 808-652-0638 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: The Garden Island