WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Department is seeking comments on proposed Federal rules that seek to clarify how we review land exchanges involving Hawaiian home lands and amendments to the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act proposed by the State of Hawai‘i.
The health and strength of the Hawaiian Home Land Trust and the beneficiaries is among the top priorities for the U.S. Department of the Interior. We are optimistic that with input from beneficiaries, the Native Hawaiian Community, the State of Hawai‘i and others, that we can put an effective process in place that will serve the beneficiaries on and off the land. The Department seeks to do this by providing clarity about how we review land exchanges and amendments to the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, and also providing the State of Hawai‘i and the Department a clear path for how to work together in protecting the Hawaiian Home Lands Trust.
The proposed rules we're issuing in the coming days seek to clarify the Federal Government's responsibilities in helping to ensure the management of the Home Lands Trust occurs in a fair, transparent, and sustainable manner.
“The Department of the Interior takes our responsibilities for the Hawaiian Home Lands Trust and its beneficiaries seriously,” said Kris Sarri, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary - Policy, Management, and Budget at the U.S. Department of the Interior. “is the Trust is vital to the health and strength of the Native Hawaiian Community, and especially to the beneficiaries who live on the lands or are on the waiting list for a homestead lease. That's why the Department today is proposing rules for public comment that seek to clarify the process it undertakes to review land exchanges involving Hawaiian home lands and amendments to the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act proposed by the State of Hawaii.”
The proposed rules 43 C.F.R. parts 47 & 48 seeks to deal with two specific Departmental responsibilities. They are the Department's review of (1) proposed land exchanges involving trust lands and (2) amendments (proposed by the State of Hawai‘i) to the HHCA. The processes outlined in both parts 47 & 48 seek to build upon past experiences and success working with beneficiaries and the State (e.g., Statewide consultation efforts between 2007-2012 by the Department to obtain input on potential land exchanges and amendments to the HHCA) to protect the Trust.
Part 47 seeks to clarify for the State and the beneficiaries the Department of the Interior's land exchange review process when Hawaiian home lands are involved, the documents the Department will use for the review, and the standards to be used in that review.
Part 48 seeks to clarify for the State and the beneficiaries the steps the Department will take to review proposed amendments to the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act and the standards to be used in that review.
The State of Hawai‘i, beneficiaries of the Hawaiian Home Lands Trust, the Native Hawaiian Community, and the general public are invited to comment on the proposed rules at http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=DOI-2015-0002-0001.
Comments must be submitted on or before July 13, 2015. If the Department ultimately decides to issue a final rule it could be published within six months of the publication of the proposed rules.
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