Environmental Law Program

Elizabeth Sharpe Fellowship Recipient Kaleo Nacapoy ’12 Lights Up The Future!

Kaleo Nacapoy ’12, this summer’s Elizabeth Sharpe Fish and Wildlife Law Fellowship recipient worked at the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Ecological Services of Honolulu Branch. Under the advising of Jess Newton of the United States Fish & Wildlife Service (“USFWS”), Joy Browning, Endangered Species Recovery Program Leader for the USFWS, and Lisa Oshiro, Policy Analyst for the United States Department of the Interior, Office of Native Hawaiian Relations, Kaleo developed a strategy to implement a functional and descriptive lighting ordinance system for the State of Hawai‘i.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law, and ELP began offering this fellowship in 2009 in memory of Elizabeth Sharpe, a 2003 graduate of the William S. Richardson School of Law and Environmental Law Certificate recipient. The Elizabeth Sharpe Fish and Wildlife Law Fellowship honors her commitment to environmental protection through government service. The Sharpe Fellowship supports students seeking to explore career opportunities with the FWS in areas of particular importance to Hawai‘i, including the connection between protected species and indigenous communities.

The goals of the project met this summer were to:

• Research and define light pollution and similar terms of art.

• Research current and proposed lighting ordinances at the State and County levels.

• Conduct interviews with possible stake-holders involved and those knowledgeable generally in lighting and its legal issues.

• Read and review lighting and conservation ordinance related bills that went through the 2011 Legislative Session.

• Research the biological impacts of lights on species listed under the Endangered Species Act and other natural resource Acts.

• Read and review the applicable federal, state, and county laws. These laws include, but are not limited to, the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), and the Marine Mammal Act (MMA).

• Analyze the competing interests of the state, private parties, and the community, with focus on the concerns of Hawai‘i’s Native Hawaiian population.

• Conduct a comparative analysis with other states and regions that have successfully strategized and implemented lighting conservation ordinances.

• Use findings to provide recommendations to implement an effective state-wide or county-by-county lighting ordinance system that may be proposed at an upcoming Legislative Session.

• Promote educational and community outreach through the PowerPoint presentation created by Isaiah Sato (undergraduate PIPES intern of UH Hilo) and Kaleo Nacapoy entitled “Kalamakūokeauhou” and eventually through a handbook or written form of the Kalamakūokeauhou presentation.

Kalamakūokeauhou means “the light that marks the dawn of new era” symbolizing how a new lighting ordinance and program in Hawai’i could signify a positive change for Hawai’i and its protected species. New lighting ordinances in Hawai‘i must incorporate conservation priorities and identify the significant agencies and policies that could aid in these re-structuring efforts. Furthermore, new lighting ordinances must balance the competing interests of:

1) The United States Federal Government, 2) The State of Hawai‘i, 3) The counties of Kaua‘i, O‘ahu, Maui, and Hawai‘i, 4) The applicable laws and its purpose, 5) The possible stakeholders involved, and 6) The concerns of Hawai‘i citizens, specifically the Native Hawaiian population, which is the host culture of Hawai‘i.

Ultimately, this fellowship along with future summer fellowships will culminate with drafting new Hawai‘i lighting ordinances to be used to propose a new lighting bill in upcoming Legislative sessions and garner enough support to enact the proposed bill into law. Great start Kaleo!

Pictured: Joanne Sheng ’12 and Kaleo Nacapoy ’12