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April's Action Alert Line-Up

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Aloha mai Kakou!

Spring is here, which means the rains will be coming to an end soon and so will the 2009 Legislative Session.  In these last heated weeks of the session, the public will get one last chance to be heard on the proposals affecting our environment and culture.  At the same time, it is important not to ignore key decisions affecting our public trust resources that are being made outside the Capitol.

To help you keep track of it all, here are four pressing issues to take action on right now and help protect the things we all love about Hawaii nei.

1. Defend the NAR Fund… because Conservation Can’t Wait!


On Monday, the State Ways & Means Committee will consider a measure to take money away from the Natural Area Reserve Fund in order to balance the state budget.  For the last ten years, this fund has provided for the conservation programs that have successfully protected our native forests, supported important watersheds, and controlled invasive species – not to mention provide affordable housing and encourage local agriculture.

Cutting this fund now will short-change our children by denying them the benefit of clean water, climate change control, and healthy native ecosystems.  Plus, we all know it is simply unnecessary because the state could generate at least $50 million a year from the foreign telescopes that currently use state land on Mauna Kea for free!  If the state just renegotiated those leases to be fair (and legal), then Hawaii could weather this economic crisis without cutting programs (or jobs).

Take action now!  Tell Hawaii’s Senators: Don’t Raid, Make the Telescopes Pay.

2. Struggle to Defend Mauna Kea Culminates This Week!

This is it.  All of the hardwork to protect Mauna Kea from the pressure to build ever-larger telescopes will culminate in two hearings this week:

– On Monday, in Honolulu, the State Ways & Means Committee will decide whether to pass HB 1174 to transfer authority for Mauna Kea to the University.

– On Thursday, in Hilo, the State Board of Land and Natural Resources will decide whether to adopt the University’s latest development plan for the summit.

Though the University continues to claim it now can properly manage the summit, the details of their plan reveal this is just the same old scam to consolidate its control over the public’s sacred summit. The University’s latest’s scheme does nothing to protect Mauna Kea’s unique and endangered alpine habitat, uphold continued cultural and religious practices on this sacred summit, or control telescope development.

Add your voice to the thousands who have already spoken up in support of genuine protections for the sacred summit of Mauna Kea – just click here.

Attend the Public Hearing in Hilo on April 8th and 9th at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel (71 Banyan Drive, 96720) at 9:00 am in the Moku Ola Ballroom.

3. Industrial Aquaculture Invades the Kohala Coast

Huge, untethered, self-powered, underwater spheres crammed with thousands of fish floating off our coast.  Yikes! Sounds like a science fiction B-film, but this is exactly what is being proposed for the Kohala coast of Hawaii Island.

Hawaiian Oceanic Technology, Inc. is applying for a permit to create a new massive tuna ocean fish farm. They want to use 247 acres of our ocean to house 12 orb-like cages so they can grow tuna and export it out of Hawaii.  Their draft EIS does not answer the basic questions everyone is asking:

- How much waste will be created and how will it affect the marine environment?
- Can the cages withstand major storms?  What if one wanders away – since the cages are not tied down and are only one mile from the humpback whale sanctuary?
- What about the sharks attracted to the caged fish? Other farms just kill them.  Is that how to treat our aumakua (diety)?

Our ocean is a public trust resource and the public deserves to know what is going to happen to it before this project causes any harm.  Click here to ask Hawaiian Oceanic Technology and the approving agencies to address the public’s concerns and questions before using our waters for a project that could hurt our ocean and the wildlife in it.

4. Uphold Your Right to Go Beach – Support the Public Access Rights Bill

Even though the public’s right to access the shoreline is protected by law, the lack of enforcement has created a de facto barrier on public beach access.  S.B. 1088 is a simple bill that would help improve enforcement of beach access… if only it could get a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee.

Click here to urge Rep. Karamatsu to hear S.B 1088 regarding public access.

If you have a few minutes, give Rep. Karamatsu a polite phone call at 808-586-8490.

Mahalo Pumehana,
Us Guys at KAHEA: The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance
phone: 808-524-8220

Image of the sacred Lake Waiau in the Ice Age NARS at the summit of Mauna Kea

Sacred Lake Waiau in the Natural Area Reserve at the summit of Mauna Kea.

KAHEA: the Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance is a network of thousands of diverse individuals islands-wide and around the world. Together, we work to secure the strongest possible protections for Hawaii’s most ecologically unique and culturally sacred places and resources.

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 37368
Honolulu, HI 96837
Phone: 808-524-8220

KAHEA is funded grassroots-style, and does not receive any Federal or corporate money. It is the financial support of many INDIVIDUALS, all giving what they can, that keeps the lights on and the campaigns going here at KAHEA.


Legislative Update

From Marti:

This is just a quick run down on the status of some of the local legislation we are watching this session.  Tomorrow is second lateral – the day when surviving bills have to be delivered to their final committee.  The next major deadline is April 9th.


SB 1088 - Seeks to improve enforcement of beach access for the public.  It successfully passed the House Water, Land, and Ocean Committee on Monday (Mahalo to Rep. Ito (D-Kaneohe) and Rep. Har (D-Kapolei)).  It is now on it’s way to the House Judiciary Committee (Rep. Karamatsu, D-Waipahu).  It needs a hearing by the first week of April.  Click here to demonstrate your support this important bill.

HB 1663/SB 709 – Both bills to protect taro from genetic modification are moving along nicely since cross over.  Tho, we are cautious to ensure that they are not amended to contradict the interests of taro farmers and consumers.  Click here to submit testimony in support of meaningful protections for our beloved Haloa. And, you can click here to read about the poundin’ good time had by all at the Taro Festival this year.

HRC 231 – This House Concurrent Resolution to uphold and enforce the laws that protect Mauna Kea was recently introduced by Rep. Hanohano (D-Puna).  This resolution outlines all that the State Land Board needs to do to fulfill its constitutional and statutory mandates to protect the conservation district of Mauna Kea.  Click here to add your support for this awesome reso.


HB 1174 - This bill seeks to give UH (the developer) management control over the conservation district of Mauna Kea. The Senate Committees on Higher Education and Water, Land passed this bill in a joint hearing, despite considerable solid testimony in opposition and only conditional testimony in support.  This bill now must be heard by the Ways and Means Committee.  Click here to take action and defend Mauna Kea.

HB 1741 – The bill to raid the Natural Area Reserve Fund has finally died!! Though we are concerned that this important fund to prevent invasive species could be raided through the budget bill.  So, stay close to hear the call to action on that front.

HB 1226 – Not only has the preemption bill died at the Capitol, it has also raised the ire of the counties who don’t appreciate some state representatives offering to just give away county authority to regulate GMO-agriculture.  Click here to read about the resolution Maui passed 9-0 against the preemption bill.

SB 1318 – This bill flipped to the good side.  The House Water, Land, and Ocean Committee deleted all the language about abolishing our coastal zone management protections and replaced with it with good language from Rep. Thielen’s pilot proposal to protect shorelines in Kailua from sea level rise with greater setbacks.

SB 1712 – The Right to Fish Bill is back in a slight muted form this session.  Unfortunately, this bill is starting to gain momentum. Stay tuned for updates on how to take action against efforts to undermine management of our fisheries and coastal areas.

No Poke Pele!

Posted by kahea at Dec 18, 2008 10:51 PM |
Filed under:

From Marti:
It was a surprise to me that there are still geothermal speculators on the Big Island. I thought the community ran them out of town long ago. And for good reason, too, according to this story.

Super offensive! And they did it more than once! Do they have a permit for this sort of thing?

Scientists disclose 2005 drill into Big Isle magma chamber

“A geothermal power company drilling a mile and a half deep on the Big Island of Hawai’i has for the first time encountered an undisturbed chamber of magma, or molten rock, scientists reported this week.

Before the discovery, which was made in 2005, the only access to magma had been on the Earth’s surface in the form of lava from volcanoes.”

Can also find the story here:

Taro and Coffee are safe on Hawai'i Island

Posted by kahea at Dec 07, 2008 06:43 PM |
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Lele ka houpo i ka ʻoliʻoli!
The heart leaps for joy!

In November, Hawaii Island County Council passed a visionary law to ban GMO-taro and coffee on Hawaii Island. For the 1st time in world history, and thanks to your overwhelming support, the public has successfuly supported protections of a sacred, indigenous plant from dangerous, irreversible genetic modification and patenting.

Over 1,200 people submitted testimony in favor of the bill. Hawaii Island taro growers were in unified support, and over 80% of coffee farmers approved the ban. People of all ages and backgrounds came forward to be a voice for Haloa, the taro, and support the preservation of our beloved natural Kona coffee. Hundreds of community members and organizations enthusiastically testified at the four hearings, which stretched long into the evenings.

Bill #361- “Restriction of Genetically Engineered Taro and Coffee”
successfully passed through 3 council hearings, with a final unanimous vote of 9-0. Then the council voted 7-0 to override a veto by Mayor Kim, and turn the bill into county law. Councilman Angel Pilago originally introduced the bill, and throughout the coyurse of the hearings other councilmembers did their research. Councilman Dominic Yagong from Hamakua, who was undecided after the 2nd hearing, decided to do a random poll of 89 coffee farmers. He found that 82% were in support of the ban. In Kona, 53 out of 60 coffee farmers polled also said yes to the ban (88%).

We now continue to work across our islands, with county councils, neighborhood boards and state legislators to protect the legacy of traditional farming and the taro on our tables. Stay rooted for information on how to support protection for taro on all islands– the huli is planted, this is a growing movement!

Why are GMO-taro & coffee rejected by local farmers & consumers?
The taro plant is sacred to the Hawaiian people and the foundation of local culture. Taro is also the world’s only allergen-free carbohydrate. Genetic modification, or GMO, of taro is disrespectful to the cultural heritage of Hawai’i, and could greatly endanger the unique, important health qualities of the taro plant.

GMO-coffee could contaminate natural Kona coffee and economically destroy the specialty local coffee industry– Japanese & European consumers largely reject GMOs.

GMO-taro & coffee could be patented and “owned” by corporations. Patents would rob local farmers of the free and public right-to-grow taro and coffee.

Can GMOs harm our health or the environment?
Scientific studies on laboratory animals show that GMOs can cause toxic, allergic, and deadly reactions. However, despite the health impacts on lab animals, GMOs have NOT been scientifically tested on humans to prove that they are safe for consumption.

The effects of GMOs on the ‘aina have never been scientifically studied. If released from the lab, GMO-taro and coffee could pose serious threats to Hawaii’s unique ecosystems and diversity of natural taro and Kona coffee. Unnatural gene mutations introduced through GMOs may harm insects, birds, fish and other wildlife. GMO mutations can also unpredictably transfer from the GMOs into other organisms through gene transfer among soil & insect microbes, with unknown longterm impacts on the whole ecosystem.

Click here for more background info.

It is a breath of fresh air, a moment of hope and calm that simply says democracy lives here in Hawaii County…
We are for safe science, transparent science and science of mutual consensus.

- Jerry Konanui, 8th generation Taro Farmer, Puna


Leaping Heart! ~ Mahalos from Big Island farmers...

Posted by kahea at Oct 17, 2008 06:48 PM |
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Here’s the report back from Na Kahu o Haloa, the Guardians of Haloa, of Moku o Keawe (Hawaii Island):

From Nancy Redfeather- coffee farmer, Kona:

Welina mai kakou,

Mahalo Nui to everyone who worked toward the passage of Bill 361 yesterday in the Hilo Chambers and around the island. The Bill passed 9-0 to become the first Law in the State of Hawai’i to ban a GE crop, Taro and Coffee, The ordinance is located in the “General Welfare” section of the Hawai’i County Codes. Mahalo to the work of KAHEA and others in gathering testimonies, as well as everyone who came to testify in Kona, Waimea, and Hilo.

Mahalo Nui for working together to rally the strong

public voice statewide, and speak to the Council and Mayor in a strong, knowledgable, and united voice. The biotech industry did it’s best to influence everyone in the room, including the editorial staff of The Hilo Tribune Herald, in an editorial on Monday morning that gave Bill 361 the thumbs down. But it didn’t matter.

The “biotech industry partners” did their very best to twist arms behind backs, threaten to “pull their votes in the coming election,”threaten the council with federal “preemption” (that was the Farm Bureau and

it’s Lawyer). Actually I am a member of the Farm Bureau and I was surprised at their very aggressive and “false” accusations of Bill 361. It felt as if they might be introducing a state preemption bill at the coming conference next week, they took such a war-like posture.

All your voices were strongly heard in the Council Chambers as many of the Council raised their 4″ fat books of testimonies, really looked heavy!

Bob Jacobson had his secretary counted 660-90% of the testimonies that were “in support.” Council Yagong from Hamakua, a fence sitter after round 2, decided to do a random poll of coffee farmers, his staff called 89. 82% were in support of the Bill as stands, that was convincing for him. In Kona 53 out of 60 farmers polled said yes (88%).

There are so many wonderful stories that happened over the 3 hearings, perhaps we can continue to tell how government, farmers and the people came together during 3 hearings, under the guidance of Haloa, to protect the intrinsic value and integrity of our heritage crops, while under tremendous pressure. It is a story of courage and clarity, of passion and connection, and “how dare you tell me what to do on my farm!” Opposing the Bill were those well dressed ladies from the Hilo Chamber of Commerce, HDEBT, HDOA, UH Manoa, Mayor’s Office, County R&D, HSTC – Lisa Gibson, HCIA , State and Hawai’i County Farm Bureaus, Richard Manshardt, etc…the usual crew and other papaya and orchid/anthurium farmers from Puna.

Coexistence=contamination was a definite theme. Again, perhaps we can share some of our favorite moments with this group. After 7 years of education and other work, it was wonderful to see so many people come up to testify with our book in their hand [Facing Hawaii's Future by Hawaii SEED]. At the end, Emily Naeole thought that the Hawaiian woman on the cover looked like her and that she held a baby and was crying. ” That is how it is for us mothers,” she said.

Aloha and Mahalo,

From Jerry Konanui- taro farmer, Puna:

Democracy lives in our Hawaii County Council

Mahalo to the the Hawaii County Council, who heard the overwhelming voices of taro, coffee growers and consumers last week–and stood by them. In passing a island-wide ban on genetically modified (GM) taro and coffee, they have acted wisely to protect public health, food security, and our Hawaii Island agricultural economy.

This historic decision was in stark contrast to the actions of Clift Tsuji, State House of Representative Agriculture Committee Chairman, who–after receiving well over 7,000 voices in support and around 240 against–aborted and killed a moratorium on genetically modified (GM) taro proposed in SB 958 last session.

In a poll conducted by Councilmember Yagong, 80% of coffee growers and 90% of Hawaii Island taro growers expressed support for the GMO taro and coffee ban. Over 1,200 consumers, and growers wrote to support County Bill 361.

It is a breath of fresh air a moment of hope and calm that simply says democracy lives here in Hawaii County.

Endless mahalo nui to all who found it important enough to, as Aunty Emily says, stand your ground and voice your mana’o–and I mean those who were against the bill as well. It is through this process of lively, healthy, and open debate that we can educate each other and others to do the right thing for the benefit of the majority of the people. We each have a voice, a vote, no one more important then the other. This transcends race, age, ideology and status of any kind every voice is important and needed if we are to co-exist in harmony.

We welcome Mayor Kim’s suggestion that all stake holders come together and work on this very heated subject about genetic engineering of our foods. We are not against biotechnology, we are for safe, transparent science and a science of mutual respect and consensus. We are and always have been open to dialogue. So hele mai! Hele mai!! E ho’ohui ana kakou!! Makaukau makou!!

Mahalo ke Akua, na kini akua, na aumakua, na kupuna.
Jerry Konanui, he kahu o Haloa

Jerry also adds:

The FAT stack of testimony was really impressive, god I was like a crying fool!!! (=

Injustice at Makua

Posted by kahea at Oct 08, 2008 05:46 AM |
Filed under:

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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