Posted on: Saturday, June 13, 2009
Army lists Makua cleanup areas
Ordnance removal at 22 cultural sites will increase access
By Will Hoover
Advertiser Staff Writer
The Army yesterday released a final list of 22 cultural sites on Makua Military Reservation deemed “high priority” for clearance of unexploded ordnance.
The purpose of removing potentially dangerous explosives from those sites is to increase access to those cultural areas, an Army media release said.
The action follows a lawsuit filed nearly a decade ago against the Army by Earthjustice in Hawai’i.
That suit resulted in an agreement in October 2001 that the Army would produce such a site list within one year.
After the Army failed to provide the list within the time period, the issue lingered in federal court for more than six years, until U.S. District Judge Susan Oki Mollway clarified the original agreement this year and ordered the Army to comply.
David Henkin, attorney for Earthjustice, yesterday said Earthjustice is happy with the outcome, but said it should not have taken so long.
“It took almost seven years longer than it was supposed to, and it took going back to court twice, but the Army finally did come out with a list of of high-priority sites, and they did provide an opportunity for public input,” Henkin said. “And so we’re pleased.”
Henkin said Earthjustice would monitor the Army’s progress in clearing out the unexploded ordnance and in allowing access to the cultural sites.
The Army’s clearance procedure, made in accordance with a plan adopted by Mollway, requires the military to submit quarterly progress reports.
Copies of the Army’s list are available at the Hawai’i State Library, Wai’anae Public Library, Kapolei Public Library or at www.garrison.hawaii.army.mil/sitelistmmr.
Reach Will Hoover at firstname.lastname@example.org.