A November report by ProPublica in partnership with The Honolulu Star-Advertiser told a story of Liliu Ross, a native Hawaiian who once dreamed of building a home on her ancestral lands.
Sadly, her dream was shattered when the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) imposed a freeze on federal housing funds throughout the region.
The reason for the freeze? The property she had planned to build on was part of the Waikoloa Maneuver Area, a 185,000-acre site that was used by the U.S. military for training in the 1940’s, and is now contaminated with numerous types of bombs, collectively known as unexploded ordnance (UXO).
For Ross and many other Native Hawaiians, the inability to secure housing on lands set aside for them in a trust is a heartbreaking reality. They have been waiting for years for the opportunity to build homes, farms, and ranches on their ancestral lands, but the UXO left behind by the military decades ago has made this impossible.
That’s why it is imperative that the Army Corps of Engineers (ACE), who are responsible for leading the removal effort, take immediate action to clear all bombs off of Hawaii and ensure the safety of the land and the ability of Native Hawaiians to live in peace. Contact Lt. Gen. Scott A. Spellmon, head of the ACE, to demand that he immediately move forward with bomb clearance efforts in Hawaii.