WASHINGTON, D.C– The Department of the Interior’s Office of Hawaiian Relations has established a Native Hawaiian Organization Notification List to help federal officials more effectively carry out their responsibilities for Native Hawaiian affairs.
The list will assist Interior and other federal agencies in identifying and working with Native Hawaiian groups to address mandated federal duties, ranging from reburying Native Hawaiian remains and cleaning up contaminated lands to conducting environmental studies and protecting historic properties. The list will be activated 60 days after it appears in the Federal Register, which will publish it this week.
“It is our hope that this list will provide Native Hawaiian communities with greater notice of proposed federal actions in Hawaii,” said Interior Deputy Assistant Secretary Chris Kearney. “The better we are able to provide advance notice of a federal action, the better communities will be able to participate in the decision making process.”
To be placed on the Notification List, a Native Hawaiian organization must certify in writing to the Office of Hawaiian Relations that the group: 1) serves and represents the interests of Native Hawaiians; 2) provides services to Native Hawaiians as a primary and stated purpose; 3) has expertise in Native Hawaiian affairs; and 4) would like to be placed on the Notification List.
The Native Hawaiian group may also specify topical and geographic areas of interest. The request should include a contact name, phone number and e-mail address. The certification must be signed and dated by the Native Hawaiian organization’s governing body and must include a valid U.S. mailing address where notifications can be sent.
“Determining who to consult with has been a particularly difficult problem for federal agencies,” said Ka’i’ini Kimo Kaloi, director of Interior’s Office of Hawaiian Relations. “Having a Notification List in place will facilitate interaction with Native Hawaiian groups. It will help to create positive long term relationships between federal agencies and Native Hawaiian groups and allow federal officials to minimize the cost of consultation and devote more resources to their primary missions.”
The criteria for the list were developed based on information received during four public meetings in Hawaii and a 90-day public comment period. Several federal agencies also provided information, including the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and the departments of Defense, Agriculture, Transportation, Health and Human Services and Education.
The notification list will allow federal officials to more rapidly satisfy statutory notification and consultation obligations under U.S. laws, such as the National Environmental Policy Act, National Historic Preservation Act, and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.
The Office of Hawaiian Relations will make the list available to Interior and other federal agencies to assist them with their reasonable and good faith efforts to identify Native Hawaiian organizations that are to be notified and/or consulted with as required by law. It is anticipated that federal agencies will rely on the list to locate and communicate with Native Hawaiian organizations when statutory, regulatory or other issues arise that trigger a need to contact or consult with Native Hawaiians.
The list will be maintained and periodically updated by the Department of the Interior. The Office of Hawaiian Relations will publish the names and contact information of the listed Native Hawaiian organizations. Placement on the list will be valid for five years, after which Native Hawaiian groups must renew their participation. The purpose of the renewal requirement is to ensure that contact information is current and the list participants who no longer wish to be contacted are not burdened with federal notices.
Fore more information, please contact Ka’i’ini K. Kaloi, director, Office of Hawaiian Relations, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street, N.W., MS 3543, Washington, D.C. 20240. Telephone (202) 513-0712 or (202) 208-7462. Fax: (202) 208-3698.