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Posted: Friday, January 18th, 2013 9:08 AM HST

Hawaii lawmakers seek to reform state land agency

By Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) Hawaii Reps. Cynthia Thielen and Mele Carroll want to limit the state's power to develop public lands.

The Democrats are advocating legislation that decreases the power of the Public Land Development Corp. The state agency was established in 2011 to develop state lands through public-private partnerships.

Thielen said Thursday that the agency could undo protections in place for decades, and the beauty of Hawaii is at stake.

Thielen says her bill responds to grassroots outrage over the organization's ability to ignore county zoning and permitting laws.

The Hawaii State Association of Counties voted to get rid of the land development agency last October.

During the opening ceremony of the legislative session yesterday, community members protested the agency at the state Capitol.

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