Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Legislature responds to Alexander & Baldwin’s plan to restore water to East Maui

Honolulu, Hawaii—In response to Alexander & Baldwin’s announcement that the company will provide full and permanent restoration of streams in East Maui, members of the State Legislature expressed their appreciation and support.  At the urging of the Legislature, A&B announced today its plan to restore water to taro farmers in East Maui.

 “I see this as a promising approach to finding real solutions to the many water rights issues on Maui,” said House Speaker Joseph M. Souki.  “With the end of sugar, Maui is truly at an important turning point, entering unchartered territory.  We need to re-think old assumptions and look for resolutions beyond the purview of the courts.”

“While there are still details to be hammered out and much work to be done, I am hopeful that this first step puts us in the right direction and toward productive compromise on waters rights issues on Maui,” Souki said.   

 The announcement to restore these streams is a good first step and a starting point in the healing process on Maui,” said Senator Mike Gabbard, chair of the Senate’s Water, Land and Agriculture Committee. “As I said in committee hearings, and on the Senate floor, we need to roll up our sleeves and continue our work to find the middle ground. I’m hopeful that the restoration of these streams helps us find a productive compromise that’s fair to folks on both sides of this debate.”

"The restoration of water in the streams is a step in the right direction.  The Legislature is committed to providing the additional resources to assess the health of our streams," said Representative Ryan Yamane, chair of the House Water and Land Committee.  "This will protect the future use of Hawaii's important agricultural lands.  The preservation of our water and our land is a priority for the health and vitality of Maui's agricultural production which is key to Maui's resilience."

"A&B's unilateral decision to restore 100 percent of the water in East Maui streams is an excellent beginning point for all of us to begin the healing process, said Sen. J. Kalani English, senate majority leader.  "Many Hawaiian families - my family - has had generations of suffering and pain over the loss of water.  Today I hope that we can begin reconciliation as the waters flow again in East Maui."

The streams to be fully and permanently restored are:  Honopou, Hanehoi (Puolua), Piinaau, Palauhulu, Waiokamilo, Kualani, and Wailuanui (East and West).  A&B will work to restore the streams as soon as possible, with some diversions modified immediately and others requiring reconfiguration.  

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