A&B To Fully Restore Taro Streams in East Maui
News Release from Alexander & Baldwin, Inc, April 20, 2016
Alexander & Baldwin, Inc. (NYSE:ALEX) (“A&B” or “Company”) announced its decision to fully and permanently restore priority taro streams in East Maui, and to continue to participate in the current East Maui interim instream flow standard (IIFS) proceedings to address appropriate restoration of other streams.
The streams to be permanently restored are the priority streams identified jointly in 2001 by the State Commission on Water Resource Management and the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation on behalf of its East Maui clients. These streams are: Honopou, Hanehoi (Puolua), Waiokamilo, Kualani, Pi`ina`au, Palauhulu, and Wailuanui (East and West).
A&B will work to restore the streams as quickly as possible. Already, the three streams that feed the largest taro growing area in East Maui, Wailuanui, were completely restored, with diversion gates fully opened to allow water to flow back into the stream.
“In January, we announced the closure of sugar operations at HC&S at the end of this year, and the transition to a diversified agricultural model. While that announcement brought with it many regrettable impacts, particularly to our employees, it also presents some opportunities. One such opportunity is to restore these streams on a permanent basis, and increase water availability for the East Maui taro farmers,” said Chris Benjamin, president and chief executive officer of A&B.
“Restoration of these priority streams will be implemented as soon as possible. In some cases, we are able to remove diversions immediately, while others will require reconstruction,” Benjamin added. “Our hope is to work with the East Maui community as we implement this stream restoration plan, as well as on other water matters, as we move forward with the transition at HC&S to diversified agriculture.”
A&B will submit a letter to the State Commission on Water Resource Management, informing them of the decision to permanently stop diverting the priority East Maui streams and asking for the Commission’s guidance in restoring these streams in the most expeditious and cooperative way possible. A&B also is committed to participating fully in the East Maui IIFS process to bring it to a final conclusion.
Legislature responds to Alexander & Baldwin’s plan to restore water to East Maui
News Release from House Democratic Caucus April 20, 2016
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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HB2501: Text, Status (Conf Ctte meets Apr 21 at 2pm, do the math)
CB: Lo and Behold, A&B's water restored to HB2501 (IQ test: Are you surprised?)
Protesters: Diversions from roughly 30 other streams and dozens of tributaries defy a January court order.
Background: No Specific Reason
MN: A&B: Water to be restored permanently to 8 streams