TESTIMONY NEEDED BY NOON TODAY
(FEBRUARY 2, 2016)
For those who appreciate the beauty of ‘ōhi‘a lehua trees and understand its ecological and cultural importance like we do, may we ask for your help?
We need testimony supporting SB2271, which appropriates $200,000 to the Dept of Agriculture for research and mitigation efforts relating to Rapid Ohia Death.
You need to set up an account at the Hawaii State Legislature to submit testimony at this link. Please feel free to copy anything we have written and use in your submission.
The hearing is tomorrow, Wednesday 2/3/2016, so written testimony has to be submitted by noon TODAY, 2/2/2016. Please spread the word — Mahalo for your kokua!
Here’s the link to upload testimony online: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/
Once you’ve logged in, click on “Submit Testimony” and then search for SB2271. Best approach for this method is to write testimony in a Word Doc or PDF and upload it.
As an alternative you can email your support to WLAtestimony@capitol.hawaii.gov.
Put in the subject line “Attn: Mike Gabbard, I Support SB2271” and copy and paste the following (or draft your own) in the body of the email.
February 2, 2016
Testimony in Support of SB2271
Relating to Environmental Protection
Chair Mike Gabbard and Vice-Chair Clarence K. Nishihara
Senate Committee on Water, Land, and Agriculture
Dear Senators Gabbard and Nishihara,
I support the appropriation of $200,000 to research Rapid Ohia Death Disease or Ceratocystis Wilt, and to develop ways to stop and mitigate its spread.
‘Ōhi‘a is the prime constituent of Hawaii’s native forests found in almost every ecological niche from sea level to 7,000 feet elevation. The loss of ʻōhiʻa trees would be a huge blow to the ability of our watersheds to absorb and retain water and would enable albezia, eucalyptus, strawberry guava, and other invasive species to take over – trees known to be harmful to Hawaii’s natural environment.
Many native animals depend on ʻōhiʻa — endangered forest birds feed on the nectar of its blossoms, snails graze on algae and fungi on its leaves, and insect communities live in its foliage, making it a cornerstone of upland Hawaiian ecosystems..
‘Ōhi‘a is sacred to several deities of Hawaiʻi: Ku, Pele, Hiʻiaka, and Laka. The wood was used to make kiʻi, temple carvings, altars, and other ceremonial structures. The plant is used in traditional herbal medicine and to make leis – can you imagine the Merrie Monarch Festival without lehua leis?
Not only would the loss of ʻōhiʻa trees be detrimental to our island ecosystem but would be a huge cultural loss to Hawaii. I wholeheartedly support the appropriation of funding to mitigate and stop this deadly disease.
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