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Army seeks public comment on Pohakuloa cultural resources

Updated: 
November 11, 2017 - 12:05am

HILO — The U.S. Army Garrison, Pohakuloa, is seeking public comments on its plan to manage cultural resources on its 132,000-acre training site tucked in the saddle between Maunakea and Mauna Loa.

More than 40 separate laws, regulations or other so-called “binding guidance” documents regulate cultural resources at Pohakuloa Training Area, the single largest U.S. Army holding in the state.

The primary purpose of an environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact statement published Wednesday is to provide managers with “a guide to ensure compliance with applicable cultural resources management laws and regulations,” the Army said in its document.

Comments are due by Dec. 7.

There are 1,198 archaeological sites documented at PTA, with 39 listed in or formally determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, 11 considered eligible, 326 determined not eligible and 822 still needing formal evaluation, the report says.

“The (Integrated Cultural Resources Management Plan) describes the fundamental requirements of cultural resources management, including identification and evaluation of cultural resources, consultation with concerned parties, consideration of impacts and decisions about how to treat resources,” it says.

One resident who is likely to submit comments is Jim Albertini, a longtime activist who regularly protests bombing exercises at PTA.

Albertini said he tried to participate in the process in good faith.

“We were excluded by the military and treated in a very insulting manner. Access to the ahu at Puu Ka Pele during last year’s Makahiki season was repeatedly denied,”Albertini said Friday. “Numerous questions have gone unanswered for years. There appears to be no good faith on the part of the military in response to community concerns.”

Military spokesmen were not available for comment Friday, a state and federal holiday.

The general objectives of the cultural resources management program are to eliminate impacts to the military missions arising from cultural resources issues, to meet compliance requirements in conjunction with other garrison offices and to identify, enhance and implement program efficiencies, the document states.

The 212-page environmental assessment can be found at https://www.garrison.hawaii.army.mil/NEPA/NEPA.htm

Comments can be emailed to usaghi.pao.comrel@us.army.mil or mailed to: Directorate of Public Works, U.S. Army Garrison, Hawaii Environmental Division (IMHW-PWE) 947 Wright Ave., Wheeler Army Airfield Schofield Barracks, HI 96857-5013.

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