Frustrated landowners push back against state’s ‘managed retreat’ approach to rising seas – Hawaii News Now

The Kihei Coast (by Michael Oswald, Public domain, via Wikimedia).
The Kihei Coast (by Michael Oswald, Public domain, via Wikimedia).

“It’s heartbreaking when we see somebody’s home damaged by the ocean. But more importantly, when a home is damaged by the ocean that means that beach in front of that home has already been lost.”

But state officials and climate change experts said barriers such as sea walls will destroy the state’s beaches.

“We are now at a point where there’s been lost nearly one quarter of the beaches in the state. If you want beaches in the future, we’re going to have to let erosion take place and land loss take place because sea level rise is an unstoppable fact,” said Chip Fletcher, dean of the University of Hawaii’s School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology.

Dawn Chang, chair of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, said her department also opposes the bill.

“Its result would be to elevate private property rights at the expense of the public trust resources,” she said.

The Senate’s Water and Land Committee decided to hold off on the bill for now, allowing for further discussion this session…


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