Monday, October 26, 2020
West Maui Hawaiian Community Seeks Intervention in West Maui Land Co.'s Water Utility Rate Proceeding
From the news release:
Lahaina, Maui -- Lahaina Hawaiian organization Na Aikane o Maui and Kauaula landowner Ke'eaumoku Kapu filed today to intervene in West Maui Land Co subsidiary's water rate increase proceeding before the Public Utility Commission.
Launiupoko Irrigation Co. is a subsidiary of West Maui Land Co. that operates a water utility from Wainee to Launiupoko in West Maui. LIC filed for a substantial rate increase in June. The rate increase application seeks approval for a massive expansion of the company's operations from its original 2003 approval of selling diverted water from Kauaula and Launiupoko Streams to pumping water from wells.
Although the Commission has not given approval to this major expansion, West Maui Land Co.'s other subsidiaries, Wainee Homes and Hope Builders have been trenching and laying the pipes for the expansion without any permits from the county and without any archaeological review.
The construction work has gone and proposes to go through multiple private parcels with disputed claims of ownership as well as old government roads owned by the County of Maui. The expansion plans to go through three historic Lahaina cemeteries. Five grandmothers and mothers were arrested two weeks ago for blocking construction equipment on one of those parcels. Last week, construction in another area was halted when human remains were disturbed.
The intervenors seek the Commission to consider how the expansion of the system risks disturbance of human burials, decreases stream flow, and increases greenhouse gas emissions and use of imported fossil fuels, with consequent climate change impacts on wildfires, reefs, and cultural resources.
"The Commission should hear the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth before approving this massive rate increase," said Kauaula landowner Ke'eaumoku Kapu.
The intervenors are represented by attorneys Lance D. Collins, Bianca Isaki and Ryan Hurley. The Commission will rule on the motion at a future date.
The Motion to Intervene can be downloaded here.