New & Noteworthy: Valuing Trees, Honors, and a Rocky Reunion

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Valuing Trees: How much is standing timber worth? According to the Jawmin bankruptcy filings (see the article elsewhere in this issue), the value of the trees is more than two and a half times that of the land: $23 million versus $9 million.

The same question arises in another bankruptcy case, this one in Oregon. The debtor, Arlie & Co., owns seven parcels totaling about 5,600 acres in East Hawai`i. Just 281 are in the state Agricultural District, where logging is a permitted activity. The remainder are in the Conservation District, where logging is rarely permitted.

Arlie has put the value of its Hawai`i holdings at $62.7 million, although it purchased the seven parcels in 2002 for just $2.8 million.

In late August, Arlie informed its creditors that it would be offering 30 separate properties for sale in an effort to raise cash. Two Hawai`i properties are on the list. One, a “Hawai`i forest” said to consist of 681 acres, is valued at $3.48 million by Arlie. The second is described as a “Hawai`i estate,” 22 acres, for sale at $1.2 million.

The larger parcel is just mauka of Akolea Road in the Kaumana area of Hilo, and

is in the state Conservation District. The “estate” parcel is north of that a little ways, in Pu`ueo, and lies in the Agricultural District.

Honors: The Hawai`i Community Foundation and the W.A. Gerbode Foundation, sponsors of the annual Ho`okele Awards given to leaders of the state’s non-profit sector, selected Environment Hawai`i editor Patricia Tummons as an award recipient this year. The award carries with it a $10,000 stipend for personal use.

Others honored this year were Jeanne Unamori-Skog, of the Maui Economic Development Board; Gregory Dunn of the Hawai`i Nature Center; and Selena Ching of the Hawai`i Youth Symphony.

A Rocky Reunion: More than a year after going on strike for better meeting conditions and administrative support and more members, the state Environmental Council met last month in a spacious, fifth-floor room on Ala Moana Boulevard and with one new member, Honolulu attorney Ian Sandison.

The bad news: council vacancies remain, Big Islanders trying to participate via video that day could only make out every third word and couldn’t tell people’s heads from their arms, and the council’s executive director, Kathy Kealoha, who is also the head of the Office of Environmental Quality Control, is on administrative leave and is basically volunteering her services.

Even so, the council resolved to at least try to continue meeting, mainly because exemption lists (lists of activities that are exempt from the state’s environmental review process) submitted by state and county agencies for council approval have piled up over the past year.

At least one list, according to new council chair Mary Steiner, has been awaiting approval since 2003. With regard to the lists submitted by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources in July for the department and its divisions of Aquatic Resources, State Parks, Forestry and Wildlife, and Boating and Ocean Recreation, Steiner said that she has told the department that the council already has 11 exemption lists awaiting approval and will review them in the order in which they were received (putting the DLNR’s lists at the end of the queue).

The DLNR’s lists have been criticized by environmental groups and others for being overly broad. Although the council would not discuss the lists until they are vetted by its exemption list committee, Cory Harden and Robert Harris of the Sierra Club both testified at the meeting against the “sweeping exemptions” that had been proposed. (For more on this, see our August New & Noteworthy column, available


Volume 21, Number 4 — October 2010


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