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PRESS RELEASE -- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Ka`u Preservation 808-928-8144

MARCH 21, 2007

LANDMARK LEGISLATION WOULD PROTECT PUNALU`U FOREVER

In meetings with congressional leaders in Honolulu, Hilo and Washington D.C., Ka`u Preservation has received strong support from all levels of government to draft historic, landmark legislation for the preservation of Punalu`u Black Sand Beach on the island of Hawai`i.

The legislative support would provide permanent protection for this invaluable cultural and natural resource for the people of Hawai`i. Punalu’u is home to many endangered species, sacred sites and the second largest spring complex on the island of Hawai‘i. “We are thankful for the massive community support for the preservation of Punalu`u. Washington and Honolulu are listening to the people!” says, Pele Hanoa, President of Ka`u Preservation.

KA`U PRESERVATION MEETS WITH CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS

In a recent trip to Honolulu Ka`u Preservation representatives met with Hawai`i State Senator Colleen Hanabusa (President of the Senate), Rep.Calvin K.Y. Say (Speaker of the House), Senator. Russell S. Kokubun (Senate Chair of Water, Land, Agriculture, and Hawaiian Affairs Committee), Senator J. Kalani English (D-Maui), Hawaii State Representative Ken Ito, (house chair of the Water, Land, Ocean Resources & Hawaiian Affairs Committee) and Rep. Robert N. Herkes (D-Ka`u). According to Pele Hanoa, “We received strong support from all of our state congressional leaders. They realize the importance of protecting our sacred lands in Ka`u and specifically Punalu`u. The preservation of this “living classroom” will ensure that the 2,000+ year old Hawaiian teaching tradition, Ho`o hana lima (hands on learning), continues to thrive.”

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"The Punalu`u Beach in Ka`u is one of the last great open spaces of Hawai`i.  We have a responsibility to protect it for generations to come.  I do not support building massive luxury resorts on this pristine land. 
 
Any development of this area, if it occurs at all, should be environmentally sensitive and include substantial community input.
 
The coast is fragile – once development occurs, there is no getting it back.  This understanding should guide our actions."

-Mazie Hirono

Ka`u Preservation is now working with state representatives to draft legislation for the 2008 session that would provide funding support for the purchase of the approximately 430-Acre Sea Mountain at Punalu‘u Property. Ka`u Preservation is also supporting state legislation that will be drafted to adopt the recommendations of the South Kona Ka`u Coastal Task Force that calls for a conservation zone of 1.5 miles from the shoreline for the entire 80 mile coast of Ka`u; the longest undeveloped coastline in Hawai`i.

CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS: SAVE PUNALU`U AS LIVING CLASSROOM

In a letter dated March 8th, 2007, to Pele Hanoa, Calvin K.Y. Say , Speaker of the Hawai`i State House of Representatives declares: "I believe that the Ka`u coastline is one of Hawai`i's greatest treasures, due to both its natural beauty as well as its cultural significance. The coastline, as well as the Ahupua`a of Punalu`u, need to be preserved for the sake of future generations... I was glad to hear of your concept of turning the area into a "living classroom," where students of all ages may learn about history, culture, customs, traditions, and the ecosystem. The fact that this will provide needed jobs for local residents is yet another positive."

In a letter to Pele Hanoa, dated March 6th, 2007, Hawaii Senator J. Kalani English (6th District) confirms his support, " Please ensure that any bills drafted for your project next session are presented to me for signature. I would be pleased and honored to co-sponsor your legislative initiatives."

U.S. CONGRESSWOMAN MAZIE HIRONO PLEDGES SUPPORT

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U.S. Congresswoman Mazie Hirono also recently met with representatives from Ka`u Preservation in Hilo and with Hawai`i County Councilman Bob Jacobson in Washington D.C. According to Pele Hanoa, “Congresswoman Hirono expressed her commitment to protecting the entire coast of Ka`u and Punalu`u and we look forward to working with her to make sure Punalu`u is protected forever.” In a recent meeting in Washington D.C. with Hawaii County Councilman Bob Jacobson who represents the Ka`u District, Congresswoman Hirono agreed to re-introduce legislation that would continue the National Park Study of the Ka`u Coast. Originally introduced by former Congressman Ed Case, the study has already revealed that, "the second largest spring complex on Hawai‘i Island extends from Punalu‘u and Ninole Springs, through Kawa‘a to Honu‘apo and (it) supports a broad range of native fauna." According to Jacobson, “Congresswoman Mazie Hirono is providing strong leadership on this issue and supports federal funding for the purchase and preservation of Punalu`u Black Sand Beach and Ninole Springs.”

According to Ron Self, Senior Attorney for Ka`u Preservation. “These are important first steps in the permanent protection of the entire ahupua`a of Punalu`u – from the mountains to the sea. Ka`u Preservation is working with major contributors, government agencies and private organizations to secure over thirty million dollars in funding. These funds would be used for the "negotiated" purchase of the entire Sea Mountain Property, the restoration of the land, cultural sites and infrastructure at Punalu`u as well as the establishment of “Living Classroom” centers throughout Ka`u."

HOW YOU CAN HELP

Punalu`u Ahupua`a"We encourage everyone to contact their elected officials in Washington D.C. and Honolulu and ask them to help save Punalu`u by supporting this important legislation that is being prepared," says Pele Hanoa.

Ka`u Preservation, with over 400 members, is dedicated to the preservation of all of the sacred lands in Ka`u so that the people of Ka`u and Hawai`i can continue to use them as they have for thousands of years. To participate in these efforts and the exciting future of Ka`u, go to www.kaupreservation.org and www.savepunaluu.org or call 808-928-1018. To help, send your tax-deductible donation to: Ka`u Preservation, P.O. Box 472, Na`alehu, HI 96772.

For more information on Ka`u Preservation’s effort to preserve the sacred lands of Ka`u, go to: www.kaupreservation.org.

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