New & Noteworthy: Maui Streams, Mangroves, and Sandalwood

posted in: February 2012, Water | 0

East Maui Stream Update: The Hawai`i Supreme Court has effectively overturned the decision of the Intermediate Court of Appeals regarding the efforts of Na Moku `Aupuni o Ko`olau Hui to have judicial review of the decision of the state Commission on Water Resource Management to deny it a contested case hearing on the commission’s approval of interim instream flow standards for several streams in East Maui.

On January 11, the Supreme Court determined that the commission had, indeed, issued a final, appealable decision on the contested-case request when Lenore Ohye, who in 2010 was the acting executive director of the commission, signed the commission-approved minutes of the October 18 2010, meeting in which Na Moku’s request was denied.

As Environment Hawai`i reported in November, the Intermediate Court of Appeals rejected Na Moku’s appeal, holding that the commission’s minutes had not been signed by the chairman of the Board of Land and Natural Resources or any other member of the Water Commission.

In remanding the appeal back to the ICA, the Supreme Court noted that Ohye “was authorized by the commission … to certify the … decision denying Na Moku’s petition…. The decision … is a final decision of the Commission for which judicial review may be sought.”

Mangrove Removal Update: Malama o Puna has received the green light for its removal of mangrove and pickleweed from `Alula Bay, just south of Honokohau harbor on the Kona coast of the Big Island. The project is the last of several involving the proposed eradication of red mangroves from the island that that were challenged in court by the Good Shepherd Foundation’s Sydney Ross Singer, who has gained a reputation for his championing of invasive species including coqui frogs, feral pigs, goats, sheep, and cats, and strawberry guava.

On January 9, the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands signed off on a Conservation District Use Permit for the work. In a narrative accompanying the permit, the OCCL notes that Singer and two other parties (one of which was his wife, Soma Grismaijer), submitted critical comments after the public comment period had closed. Grismaijer, the OCCL notes, stated that a lawsuit to stop the project and require an environmental assessment for it had failed but maintained “that an environmental assessment should be done anyway.”

Petitions submitted by Grismaijer contained “numerous entries that appear to have been signed by the same person,” the OCCL continues. Also, “twenty of the twenty-five pages [of the petition] are against ‘the poisoning (of) the intertidal zone and waters of Pohoiki,” on the opposite side of the island.

“OCCL has reviewed the documents that the Good Shepherd Foundation sent in support of their arguments and finds they are based on significant distortions of the scientific research regarding mangroves in Hawai`i,” the narrative states.

Sandalwood Logging Update: The sandalwood logging operation of Jawmin in the Hokukano area of the Big Island has lost what had been its chief broker, Wescorp Pacific of Australia.

According to Wescorp executive Tim Coakley, the two parted ways last October. “I am obviously disappointed, as I think, done correctly, it [Jawmin’s operation] could be a terrific model for the future,” Coakley told Environment Hawai`i.

Wescorp has developed sustainable sandalwood plantations in Australia and last year, as Jawmin was involved in bankruptcy proceedings, Coakley said that he was “absolutely comfortable that [Jawmin] is operating in a sustainable manner.”

Jawmin emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September. Calls to Wade Lee, a principal of Jawmin, were not returned by press time.

Volume 22, Number 8 — February 2012

Leave a Reply