Dam breach investigation also looks at prevention
The civil investigation into the March 14 dam breach that killed seven people is under way, with a new Web site and an invitation for public comment, Special Deputy Attorney General Robert Godbey said yesterday.
Godbey, picked by Attorney General Mark Bennett to head the civil investigation, said that while the investigation will look to the past for causes of the breach, its main goal is geared for the future.
"We are going to be looking forward to see what can be done in the future" to prevent this from happening again, Godbey said. "We are the only (investigation) focusing on that."
Godbey said it's the investigation's main focus to report back to the Legislature with the findings, so that the devastation in Kilauea never happens again.
"We are looking into legislation or other government activity that could help prevent another tragedy," Godbey said.
How the investigation comes together depends a great deal on the public, he said. Public comment is encouraged and requested on the Web site, and, depending on the response, public hearings on Kauai may be held as well.
"In part, we'd like to see what the community suggests," Godbey said. "We'd love to hear from them."
Bennett tapped Godbey in July after the state Legislature asked Bennett to appoint someone to look into whether the state, county, or private landowners were culpable in the collapse and to recommend legislation, according to the new Web site.
Kauai residents and lawmakers requested the independent investigation because of the state's possible liability in causing the breach, and Bennett's ties to William McCorriston, an attorney for dam owner James Pflueger.
Pflueger has already claimed in a lawsuit that the state was negligent in its oversight of the dam.
A criminal probe into what caused the dam breach is being conducted by the attorney general's criminal justice branch.
Comments can be e-mailed to Godbey at RGodbey@KalokoDam.net, by fax at 523-8899, or by mail at Kaloko Dam Investigation, Robert Carson Godbey, Suite 2300, Pauahi Tower, 1001 Bishop St., Honolulu 96813.