Above photo: US Army.
The 65-year leases of 30,000 acres of Hawaii state land by the U.S. military are ending in 2029. The state of Hawaii should not re-lease these lands no matter what the amount the U.S. military offers.
The leases on 23,000 acres at Pohakuloa Training Area on the Big Island, 4,370 acres at the Kawailoa/ Poamoho Training Area, 1,170 acres at the Kahuku Training Area and 760 acres at the Makua Military Reservation were given away essentially for free, with the state charging only $1 for each parcel for 65 years!
The three areas on Oahu are onethird of the 18,060 federal and state lands used for military training on the island, while the 23,000 acres at Pohakuloa are 17% of the 133,000 acres that comprise the largest military training area in the state and in the Pacific region.
We are subjected to a daily dose of the U.S. military build-up for what the Indo-Pacific command is calling “our enemy China.” We know what happens when the U.S. tries to resolve disputes through military action — millions of persons dead and wounded, including tens of thousands of U.S. military, as evidenced by the wars in Viet Nam, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.
Ultimately disputes with countries are resolved not by military action, but by dialogue, so why are we spending trillions on weapons that ultimately do not solve the situation?
As residents of Hawaii, I think we should want to be known as an area of peace and dialogue using the Hawaiian technique of “ho‘oponopono” — rather than as a base for projecting the U.S. propensity for killing over using diplomacy to reduce tensions with other countries.
A first step would be reducing the U.S. military footprint in Hawaii by refusing to re-lease 30,000 acres currently used by the U.S. military.
The U.S. Army is seeking public comments on the environmental impact statement (EIS) concerning the re-leasing proposal by Sept. 1. You can email comments to: usarmy.hawaii. firstname.lastname@example.org or go online to fill in the form at https://home.army.mil/hawaii/ index.php/OahuEIS. Comments may also be mailed to: Oahu ATLR EIS Comments, P.O. Box 3444, Honolulu, HI, 96801-3444. Attending public hearings this week is another way to be heard. Hearings are set for Tuesday and Wednesday, 6-9 p.m., at Leilehua Golf Course; they will be livestreamed at www.youtube.com/usaghawaii/live.
Oral comments may be provided by attending one of these two in-person public scoping meetings, or remotely by calling (808) 556-8277; recording services for comments are available both days, 4-9 p.m.
Originally published in the Honolulu Star Advertiser.