Injustice at Makua

Posted by kahea at Oct 08, 2008 05:46 AM |
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From Marti:

I attended the public hearing last night in Nanakuli about the U.S. Army’s plans to increase live-fire training at Makua Valley. The EIS details how the military’s activities in the valley have contaminated the environment and harmed the spiritual and cultural significance of the area for Native Hawaiians. Community members expounded on the military’s admissions of guilt by telling stories of families lost to unexplained illnesses, fires burning out of control, and cultural access denied.

Of particular concern to me was the admission that perchlorate has been found in the soil at Makua Valley. Perchlorate is used as both an explosive and fuel. While the risks are not fully understood, perchlorate contamination has been linked to thyroid disorders, immune system deficiencies, nervous system disorders, and cancer. Aunty Leandra told me at the meeting that the training range at Makua is directly over a groundwater aquifer that abuts and spills into the groundwater aquifer for Makaha.

Clean drinking water is a basic human right. For the U.S. Army to move ahead with activities at Makua Valley knowing that it could contaminate the drinking water supply of Waianae Coast residents is an abomination – a serious violation of a basic human right.

I left the meeting overwhelmed by the extreme injustice of this situation. Something must be done. At the very least, the State of Hawaii must uphold its constitutional obligation to ensure the public’s right to a clean environment (Article XI, sec. 9). The U.S. Army leases Makua Valley from the State (probably for a $1 a year). That lease ends in 2029 and should not be extended. As the landowner, the State should require its leasee, the Army, to clean up and return Makua Valley.

More public meetings will be held at the locations listed below. Each meeting will consist of an open house from 5:30 p.m. – 6:45 p.m., where information will be provided (on the SDEIS), followed by a public comment session from 7 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

* October 7, 2008
Wahiawa District Park Recreation Center
1129 Kilani Ave
Wahiawa, HI 96786

* October 8, 2008
Aunty Sally Kaleohano’s Luau Hale
799 Piilani Street
Hilo, HI 96720

* October 9, 2008
Waimea Community Center
65-1260 Kawaihae Road

To submit comments, you can:
fax: 808-656-3162
mail: USAG-HI Public Affairs Office
742 Santos Dumont
WAAF, Schofield Barracks, HI 96857

Attn: Makua SDEIS Public Comments

From our hoa aloha and ‘ohana at DMZ-Hawai‘i/Aloha ‘Aina:
The Army plans to fire over two million munitions annually – further destroying the beautiful and sacred Makua valley during their proposed 242 days a year of war games. These munitions include the most threatening illumination munitions, 120mm HE mortars, 155mm HE howitzers, inert TOW missiles and 2.75 caliber rockets, some of which will be launched from helicopters, and all of which the Army admits will increase chances of wildfire and “physical damage and loss of mana for the Native Hawaiian culture” (SEIS 4-199).

• The devastating impacts of wildfire caused by Army war games are unacceptable.
• Any further desecration of our sacred sites is unacceptable.
• Limiting access to the valley is not acceptable.


For three decades, the Hawaiian movement for aloha ‘aina has worked to protect Makua valley from the US military. We have been successful, and in the process, have won important religious and cultural access rights, and have temporarily stopped training in the valley. The military wants to reverse these advances, though, by returning the violence of live-fire training to Makua.

To learn more, you can go to or call 808-988-6266.

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