A Win for Environmental Justice! People of Wai’anae Save Farmland

The people of Wai’anae won a big victory for environmental justice. KAHEA reports, “Tropic Land’s petition for a boundary amendment to allow an industrial park on fertile farmland was DENIED today, April 21, 2011.”  The post continues:

The Petitioner recognized that Commissioners had concerns about the proposed industrial park, especially whether they had access to use the Navy-owned road to leads to the property site.  So in a last minute hail-mary, the Petitioner told the Commission that the Navy was now considering dedicating the land to the City.  Interestingly, the City’s attorney did not know about the proposed dedication.

The Elders reminded the Commission that for six years the Navy and the City negotiated over dedicating the Lualualei Naval Access Road, which did not result in any change in the ownership or use of the road.  The question of proper access to the property is something Tropic Land should have figured out long before proposing a permanent change in the land use designation of their property.

This is a campaign that began back in 2009 when the Wai’anae Environmental Justice Working Group was formed.    Ka Makani Kaiaulu o Wai’anae youth participated in documenting and raising awareness about the issues related to the encroachment of industrial and military activity into farm land, protection of cultural sites, including the important sites pertaining to Maui the demigod, and health effects of environmental contamination.

Congratulations and thanks go out to the Concerned Elders of Wai’anae, the Wai’anae Environmental Justice Working Group, KAHEA, MA’O Farms and the many groups and individuals who worked on this campaign. For now the agricultural land in Lualualei will be spared an industrial onslaught.   However, the threat is still looming, and struggle continues on another front.  The City and County of Honolulu Planning Commission is in the process of reviewing and receiving public comments on the Wai’anae Sustainable Communities Plan (WSCP). The community has long fought to preserve the natural, cultural and human waiwai (wealth) of Wai’anae, but this latest version of the plan includes an invasive ‘spot’ of industrial use where the Tropic Land LLC industrial park is proposed in the middle of agricultural land.    Yesterday, I testified in the second of two long days of hearings on the WSCP.  The Planning Commission will make a decision on the plan in May.

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