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Governor Ige Nominates Aimee Barnes for State Land Board

Gov. David Ige has nominated Aimee Keliʻi Barnes of Kailua to replace Dr. Samuel Gon III on the Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR). Barnes’ nomination is subject to Hawaiʻi Senate approval, though she begins serving immediately.

Barnes, who is currently the principal of Hua Nani Partners, also serves as the Director of the Policy Lab at Elemental Excelerator, a non-profit that supports equitable climate innovation founded in Hawai’i in 2009.

A recognized climate change expert, Barnes’ work on environmental issues spans nearly 20 years in the non-profit and private sector, and internationally.  She was previously appointed by former California Gov. Jerry Brown as a member of his senior staff, leading implementation of his climate and environmental policy agenda. In this role she was responsible for California’s carbon neutrality executive order, described as “history’s most ambitious climate target” at its launch.  She has also served as deputy secretary for Border and Intergovernmental Relations for the California Environmental Protection Agency.

Barnes earned her B.A. in Environmental Studies from Dartmouth College, where she was awarded a Mellon-Mays Fellowship to study Hawaiian environmentalism and cultural identity. She received her MPA in Environmental Science and Policy from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University.  Her father was raised in Nu‘uanu Valley and attended Kamehameha Schools while her maternal grandmother sailed to O‘ahu as a teenager on the Lurline and attended Roosevelt High School.

In a press release Barnes said, “Hawai‘i is a beacon of climate and sustainability leadership for the world. The BLNR has an important role to play in helping the state meet its ambitious climate goals, including through conservation of the state’s natural and working lands, which serve as a significant carbon sink.”


Photo credit: State of Hawaiʻi Governor’s Office

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