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Maui waters flow again after 150 years

In some good news, a significant amount of water will be returned to Wailuku River and Waikapū Stream on Maui. After a long court battle, two companies diverting the waters have agreed to restore up to 12.9 mgd to the two water ways.

It was here in Wailuku and Waikapū that the first sugar plantations on Maui began draining the streams more than 150 years ago. In a sense, today’s restoration of flow brings us full circle to where the private diversions of stream flows and deprivation of Native Hawaiian communities and stream, wetland, and nearshore ecosystems began.

It’s rare to have the legal system uphold environmental protection or the rights of Native Hawaiians. This is a small victory, but well worth celebrating. Hopefully it will lead to further wins for the aina and its people.

Read the whole story: Turning the Tide of History: Maui waters flow again after 150 years.

Monday August 11 – Honolulu Town Hall meeting on PRIMNM

People who want to protect our moana nui for everyone, including Hawai‘i, need to be heard in regard to Obama’s proposed PRIMNM expansion. The Town Hall discussion will be held on August 11 at the Ala Moana Hotel, Carnation Room, 410 Atkinson Drive Honolulu, from 5:00 – 7:00 pm. Even if you can’t attend the Town Hall meeting, you can send comments to, deadline is August 15.

This notice reposted from an email sent out by KAHEA: The Hawaii-Environmental Alliance.

Our oceans are threatened by overfishing, pollution, habitat destruction, ocean acidification, and climate change. According to The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture, 2014, about 90 percent of global fish stocks are overfished or fully-fished. Researchers found that fully protected marine reserves are essential to rebuilding species abundance and diversity and increasing resilience to climate change. At least 20-30 percent of our ocean should be in protected marine reserves to ensure the productivity of marine fisheries and overall ocean health. Currently less than 1 percent of the ocean is protected in no-take marine reserves.

On August 11, 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will host a Town Hall meeting in Honolulu to hear your comments on U.S. President Obama’s recent proposal to expand – by nearly nine-fold -the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument (PRIMNM) to the outermost reaches of the already existing U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). PRIMNM currently consists of 5 uninhabited island or atoll complexes (Wake, Jarvis, Howland and Baker Islands, Johnston Atoll, and Kingman Reef and Palmyra Atoll) plus the ocean surrounding each.

The expanded PRIMNM would be the largest monument in the world, and commercial fishing would be banned in its 200 square mile area. Unsurprisingly, the most vehement criticisms of PRIMNM expansion have come from members of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council (Wespac). Wespac says the Pacific Remote Islands are important U.S. tuna fisheries and American Samoan purse seine fisheries; these fisheries don’t harm coral reef habitats in the area; and local subsistence fishers depend on access to these areas. The Pacific Remote islands are uninhabited, save for conservation personnel, and the area accounts for only about 5% of their tuna catch.

PRIMNM expansion complements actions of Pacific Island nations that are most affected by the health of our oceans. We do not often support U.S. federal actions in the Pacific, but PRIMNM expansion aligns with policies of putting marine conservation above commercial fishing interests on which many Pacific nations – Palau, Kiribati, and Cook Islands – have already led the way. Earlier this year, Palau announced it would protect 80 percent of Palau’s EEZ; Kiribati is closing two significant areas to commercial fishing; and Cook Islands have created a no-take marine reserve 50 miles around the southern islands in the archipelago.

The expanded PRIMNM would protect irreplaceable natural resources, including:

  • 241 seamounts, undersea mountains that are hotspots of biodiversity;
  • migratory species, such as dolphins, that use these seamounts as stopovers on trips between the Hawaiian Islands and other Pacific areas;
  • 14 million seabirds representing 19 species, which use these areas as feeding and breeding grounds;
  • Reef and open ocean habitat for protected species of sea turtles and marine mammals;
  • Deep water coral ecosystems, a variety of unique coral species live at great ocean depths, some of which are up to 5,000 years old;

Further, deep seabed mining – the extraction of minerals from the seafloor or sediment below the seabed – is prohibited within the existing PRIMNM and the boundary expansion should protect more of the Pacific. Mining destroys life on the seafloor in the target area; it pollutes adjacent waters and seafloor; heavy metals and sediment discharged from seabed mining can accumulate in fish; and sediment plumes that suffocate life can travel thousands of miles from a mining operation. In Papua New Guinea, where the first mining lease was granted in an area known as Solwara 1, an estimated US $740 million per hectare is needed to repair damage to the biodiversity, ecosystem integrity, and ecosystem function caused by seabed mining.

Petition against trash incinerator in Hilo

Please add your opposition to this proposed project. Instead of finding ways to break our addiction to international commerce and start meeting our needs from the aina, this threatens to lock our county into mandatory long-term generation of trash. And as usual, the proposal calls for this source of air pollution to be sited near an already vulnerable, poor Native Hawaiian community.

If possible, please also submit testimony to the County Council, either in person Friday, July 18th, or via email to (Email must be received by noon, Thursday July 17th.)

Voter Registration Info for Hawai’i

Although national and even state level elections are generally so controlled by big money that they don’t offer us much leverage for intervention, we can often have some influence over local politics. Though local jurisdictions are often constrained by state and national laws specifically designed to prevent communities from defending themselves against corporate interests, a lot of important decisions do happen at this level. (And more and more localities are turning to CELDF style radical legal approaches to assert the rights of community and environment over the “rights” of corporations.)

The upcoming primary election gives us a chance to get candidates onto County Councils who will represent the people and the land, rather than pandering to corporate interests. It’s extremely important that we get new folks registered to vote, and then turn out the vote for this primary. Since this is a non-presidential year with relatively few people bothering to vote, those of us who do really matter. Depending on the district, it may only take 2000 votes in this primary for a given candidate to avoid a runoff and win the seat outright. If you can bring in a few more votes by registering and turning out friends and neighbors, you can further maximize your impact.

Registration Logistics

View full registration details, or keep reading for the most pertinent information:

Where To Get a Registration Form: Many locations, including libraries and post offices, or download online (you’ll need to print and mail in the form.) Use the same form for regular or absentee status.

Registration Cut-off: The voter office must receive registration forms for regular voting by July 10, which generally means you must mail them by July 9. They must receive registration forms for Permanent Absentee voting by August 2, so generally you must mail your form by August 1.

First Time Voters: You will need to provide proof of identification, such as a current photo ID (out of state is OK) or utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows your name and address. You can either:

  1. provide a copy with your Voter Registration application, or
  2. show it when you go to the polls for in-person voting, or provide a copy with your absentee mail-in ballot

How to Vote: If you’re registered for normal voting, you’ll receive a Notice of Voter Registration with your polling location, which will be open 7 AM – 6 PM on August 9. You can do early walk-in voting July 28 through August 7, during specific days and times. Bring proper identification.

If you sign up for absentee ballot voting, you’ll receive your ballot in the mail and need to return it by 6 PM on August 9, so generally need to mail it by August 8. You can also do early walk-in voting as described above.

Failure of Bill on Sustainable Living

The Hawai’i Sustainable Community Alliance has put a lot of effort over the past few years into drafting, introducing, and lobbying for a bill to “enable innovators and sustainable pioneers to practice and test ways of living that are ecological and sustainable” in Hawaii.

The bill passed through 6 committee hearings, and normally would have proceeded automatically to a final hearing. Senator Malama Solomon, who generally seems opposed to sustainability and supportive of destructive practices like industrial agriculture and geothermal, used her position as Chairperson of the Senate Conference Committee to deny the bill a hearing.

This, of course, is an all too typical expression of how systems of power operate. If you don’t play by their rules, they imprison you. If you play by their rules, you generally have no chance of winning, because they wrote the rules to keep themselves in power. And if you play by their rules and start to win, they change the rules.

If we, as advocates of sustainable living and social justice, are serious about winning, we need to find ways out of this triple bind. The Deep Green Resistance strategy of Decisive Ecological Warfare is an excellent start, though we’ll have to figure out how to effectively apply it the particular situation in and needs of Hawaii.

Support bill to limit geothermal – deadline April 26

Passing this on from Puna Pono Alliance:

This year’s geothermal legislation needs your help now, one last time. Please send an email (see below) and ask your friends to do the same. The immediate need for these emails ends this week (please do not send emails after April 26th.)

Representatives Chris Lee and Cindy Evans along with their committees on Energy and Environmental Protection and Water and Land made appropriate changes to Senate Bill 2663 (now referred to as SB2663 SD2 HD2.) They not only cleaned up the Senate version of the bill, but they also provided for contested cases in geothermal permitting and a ban on fracking (with a sunset of 10 years.) Representative Sylvia Luke and her Finance committee then also approved the favorably amended legislation.

On Friday, April 25th, SB2663 SD2 HD2 will be considered by a conference committee (where Chris, Cindy, Sylvia and Cynthia Thielen will confer with Senators Malama Solomon, Donovan Dela Cruz, Mike Gabbard, Brickwood Galuteria and Sam Slom for decision making only, with no public testimony.) Puna Pono Alliance is supporting a campaign of email messages to the conference committee members. Here is a sample email message:


Thank you for your concern and support for a community that lives near Hawai`i’s only geothermal development. We appreciate how the House has provided for contested cases in geothermal permitting and a ban on fracking as amendments to Senate Bill 2663. These House changes, along with other improvements in language and intent, make Senate Bill 2663 an initiative I support. As members of the House and Senate confer on the bill, I ask that you please keep contested cases and the ban on fracking as essential elements of the bill. Without both of these elements, I feel that the bill would not be worthwhile.


Please freely edit the above draft text for your email. Here are the email addresses of the conference committee members::