as another year comes to a close we hope you agree that Maui Tomorrow continues to be your voice in planning a sustainable future for the island we love.
Below is a snapshot of our priorities for 2014. We continue to be Maui’s foremost organization to take legal actions when necessary and are proud to serve as a watchdog for enforcement of Hawai‘i’s environmental and land use laws.
Restoring Maui’s “Four Great Waters”
Maui’s ‘aina was given an Earthday gift in April when an historic settlement was reached with HC&S and Wailuku Water Co., returning waters to Iao and Waikapu streams after a century of unlimited diversions. A decade of persistence by Earthjustice and Office of Hawaiian Affairs attorneys, representing Maui Tomorrow, Hui o Na Wai Eha and OHA beneficiaries resulted in the return of 10 million gallons a day of water to Maui’s legendary `Iao stream and restoration of flows to a portion of Waikapu stream, the first restoration to these streams in over a century. Maui Tomorrow and its allies were successful, in 2008, in restoring flows to Waiehu and Waihee streams.
A Second Chance for Justice
The precedent setting Hawai‘i Supreme Court decision over Na Wai Eha has reopened the State Water Commission’s review of adequate stream flow in 27 streams in East Maui, now diverted by East Maui Irrigation. Maui Tomorrow is representing the interests of native flora and fauna habitat; ongoing watershed health; and families dependent on a fair share of those waters for their homes, farms, recreation and aesthetic enjoyment. Our ally, Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation is representing cultural and traditional interests. Hearings begin in early 2015.
Clean Air for Keiki campaign cleanairforkeiki.org continues to push for better air quality for Maui’s residents and visitors. Through our CleanAirMaui smartphone app the state Dept. Of Health is investigating issues of excessive smoke and dust from HC&S and Monsanto fields along with pollution from coal burned at Pu‘unene Mill where a $1.3 million fine was issued this year for air quality violations.
With support from the Environmental Protection Agency we are asking HC&S to form a task force of stakeholders to explore how we move towards greater green harvesting of HC&S fields, in particular, those fields close to the residential areas of North Kihei and Paia.
Maui Tomorrow and allies have successfully called for the state and county to follow our planning laws rather than fast track a huge new commercial development in South Maui. Two “mega malls” proposed for an 88 acre site, approved in 1995 for a low impact light industrial park, have been reworked. A review of the project’s first Environmental Impact Statement in 20 years still leaves many questions about impacts on existing business districts, traffic, drainage, water supply, preservation of historic sites, and whether there is a proven need for the project. Maui Tomorrow hosted a popular series of historical presentations over the last year to highlight just what is at risk. We’ll return to the state Land Use Commission in the months ahead to ask that he project follow the law and seek a Community Plan Amendment. We also ask that alternative project designs be considered, with fewer impacts and more community benefits.
Maui Tomorrow’s continued advocacy efforts proved successful this fall when the Maui County Council voted to purchase land from Alexander & Baldwin Inc for a new county service center in Kahului that includes a bonus of almost 36 acres of beachfront open space between Baldwin Beach Park and the park at Paia Bay. This vital addition is a great start to our ultimate goal of a Northshore Heritage Park forever protecting the undeveloped shoreline between Spreckelsville and Pa‘ia town, as recommended in the Maui Island Plan.
Room to grow… this ancient native wiliwili tree, thousands more rare and beautiful native plants, and hundreds of cultural sites will be protected in a proposed 152 acre preserve, expanded through advocacy efforts, from a 40 acre preserve proposed in 2012.
Paniaka Pond at Makena State Park is an ancient fishpond now overgrown with alien plants. Maui Tomorrow and other members of the Oneloa Coalition are working with state Department of Land and Natural Resources on a Curator’s Agreement to restore and maintain the pond and surrounding areas of this beloved South Maui coastal area.