Attorney General David Louie has issued a Formal Opinion concluding that all of the royalties derived from geothermal resources development on Hawaiian home lands must be used for the benefit of native Hawaiians.
Attorney General Louie cites the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, which states that “all proceeds and income from the ‘available lands’, as defined by the [HHCA], shall be used only in carrying out the provisions of [the HHCA].” The money must be paid to the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.
“Following a comprehensive legal analysis by the capable deputy attorneys general in my office, I have concluded that the DHHL has the right to receive all proceeds and income from the available lands, including 100 percent of the royalties derived from geothermal resource development,” he said.
The opinion also concludes that DHHL is the state entity authorized to manage geothermal resources on Hawaiian home lands.
“I hope that by issuing Op. No. 14-1, the Legislature and the community will have a greater appreciation of the constitutional and legal foundation for DHHL’s rights to the economic benefits of geothermal resource development on Hawaiian home lands,” Attorney General Louie said.
Download Op. No. 14-1 here.