Sand Mining Lawsuit: Two testify they saw work being done without a monitor

Published August 24, 2017 in The Maui News

“Sand Mining Lawsuit: Two testify they saw work being done without a monitor”

Testify Against Sand Mining at the IEM

On Monday, August 14th at 1:30 PM the County Council’s Infrastructure & Environmental Management (IEM) Committee will meet to discuss and possibly vote to pass a sand mining moratorium bill out of committee. The meeting was postponed from July 31st because they didn’t have quorum.

Stand up for ʻiwi kūpuna and our environment – come testify in support of the moratorium (County Council Chambers – 8th Floor, 200 S. High St., Wailuku) or send your testimony to

Talking Points You Can Use In Your Testimony

  • Protect the Culture and Environment: Mauiʻs sand is NOT a “land resource,” which is something to be bought and sold and is governed under zoning laws. Sand, especially the inland Maui sand dunes, is a environmental and cultural resource that needs special protection. The Maui Inland Sand dunes are well-known to be the final resting place of many ʻIwi Kūpuna and must be respected
  • Follow the $$$: Big business interests want Council to look the other way because their businesses profit greatly off the mining and selling of Maui sand. For example, Maui Lani Partners has made millions from selling this sand. These business interests are doing everything they can to make sure sand is not considered an environmental resource because that would hurt their profits. Please put the communityʻs interests over those of big businesses.
  • If Council Doesnʻt Do This…: Through comments given at previous IEM meetings on this issue, its clear that State Historic Preservation Division (SHPD) officials donʻt have the ability to properly enforce their own rules and the County departments issuing these permits have ignored lies on permit applications and not enforced their own rules. If Council doesnʻt pass this moratorium, ʻIwi Kūpuna will continue to be desecrated and Maui will lose all its inland sand.
  • Hold the Guilty Accountable: Council should hold accountable all those involved in the illegal activity that led to the resource extraction and desecration of ʻIwi Kūpuna. In addition to passing this moratorium, thereʻs a long paper trail of guilt and incompetence that must be examined.

Check out the agenda and documents for the July 31st and August 14th meetings, including the text of the bill, at  (Make sure you search for Infrastructure and Environmental Management agendas)

Press Release: Settlement Announced Over Future of Mākena Region

July 11, 2017


Maui Community Groups Reach Settlement Over Future of Mākena Region

Impacts of Luxury Development on Environment and Cultural Practices Significantly Reduced

Community groups and the owner of Makena Resort (ATC Makena) have reached an agreement regarding the future of the Mākena region. The agreement includes reducing density throughout the entire Mākena resort lands as well as the makai parcels, preservation of on-street public beach parking around Makena Landing, affordable housing within the Mākena area, protection of cultural sites and historic mauka-makai trails, an independent cultural manager and the establishment and perpetual funding of a community benefit fund, among other provisions.

“This settlement is a win-win because it protects the environment and cultural sites of Mākena, but also supports the needs of Maui’s local families,” said Adriane Raff Corwin, Coordinator of Sierra Club Maui Group. “Our negotiations will result in at least 60 units of housing, affordable in perpetuity and priced at or below median income levels, being built on Makena resort land. We have asked that first priority for these homes be given to families with historical ties to the Mākena area, giving kamaʻaina a chance to return to the land.”

Hoʻoponopono O Mākena, Sierra Club of Hawaii – Maui Group, and Maui Tomorrow Foundation filed suit in the Environmental Court in early May challenging the Maui Planning Commission’s Finding of No Significant Impact for ATC Makena’s 47-acre project surrounding Makena Landing. The groups were represented by attorney Lance D. Collins. A request to stay county proceedings was granted by Environmental Court Judge Joseph E. Cardoza. Shortly thereafter, the judge asked that parties begin meeting to attempt to negotiate a resolution of the community’s concerns. The lengthy, intensive negotiations were aided by both Circuit Court Judge Peter T. Cahill and retired Circuit Court Judge Shackley Raffetto.

“We need the Mākena Landing area to be a place where local families feel welcome,” said Ashford DeLima, a member of a long time Mākena family, and President of Hoʻoponopono O Mākena. “This agreement protects our past, like our cultural sites and historic trails, while it provides for the future by expanding the shoreline park and parking. We worked hard to have a guarantee that cultural access and cultural education will not be confined to a few little sites on this property. Working through an onsite cultural manager, cultural use will be a real part of the land. Our goal is for local families to learn from this land for generations to come.”

“The `āina of Mākena needed a voice,” said Albert Perez, Executive Director of Maui Tomorrow Foundation. “Maui’s people were being pushed out, but the community stepped up to the plate and pushed back. We have been working constantly over the last two months to represent the public’s interests and preserve what is best about Mākena. Our history of fighting for this special place goes back almost 40 years. The first success of this effort was the creation of Mākena State Park at Oneloa (Big Beach). Now the future of Mākena, which has been unclear for decades, has a measure of certainty. As a community, we will need to remain vigilant, but this is a start.”

Hoʻoponopono O Mākena is an organization that was formed to preserve and protect cultural and historic sites in Mākena, including heiau, rock structures, shrines, ancient walls, pathways, and roads. The group’s mission is “to make things right” in Mākena; they are interested in caring for the many historic sites in Mākena with any other interested community members.

The Maui Tomorrow Foundation is an environmental advocacy organization serving as a watchdog for enforcement of Hawaii’s environmental and land use laws. For more information, please visit

The Sierra Club Maui Group, part of the Sierra Club of Hawai’i, is one of the oldest and most effective grassroots environmental organizations in the islands. Founded in 1976, we currently have thousands of members and supporters volunteering to help people better explore, enjoy, and protect Hawaiʻi’s unique environment and wildlife.

2017 Hawai’i State Legislature Round Up


Well, it’s May 5th, which means the Hawai’i State Legislature is in recess until January 2018 (they can and may be called into special session later this year, most likely to pass a funding bill for Honolulu Rail).

Unfortunately the list of good environmental bills that made it into law is short – from pesticides to clean energy, some of our state legislators took a pass on making our environmental future brighter. Our friends who work on affordable housing and other important social issues also saw very little helpful legislation passed.

But on the bright side – we were successful at beating back many bad bills. House Bill 1536 was killed and House Bill 1469 was recommitted to next year’s session, in no small part because of Sierra Club of Hawai’i’s Executive Director Marti Townsend.

There was also some great creative activism around HB1580, a cutting edge bill that set a goal of 100% clean ground transportation by 2045 – #Bananasfor1580. Although HB1580 was eventually killed, it spurred many new and young activists to participate, and we’re excited to see what’s in store for 2018! Learn more about #Bananasfor1580.

Sierra Club Maui Group wants to extend a huge mahalo to all Sierra Club of Hawai’i Chapter Staff and allies in Honolulu who worked tirelessly to pass the good bills and beat back the bad ones!

If you want to get involved more with helping pass good bills in the next legislative session, sign up for Sierra Club of Hawai’i’s Capitol Watch Action Network.

Ban the Foam! VICTORY!


The Maui County Council unanimously passed the ordinance to ban polystyrene foam containers in Maui County! Ban goes into effect on December 31, 2018.


On Monday, May 8, 2017 the Maui County Council will make the final vote on whether to ban polystyrene (styrofoam) food containers in Maui County (Bill No. 127 – 2016). Starting at 9 am, the public can testify in person.

Here’s Why We Need a Ban:

  • Polystyrene, as a single-use toxic plastic, poses significant environmental harm to our terrestrial and ocean environment.
  • Polystyrene foam products do not biodegrade and instead break down into micro-plastics that are often consumed by seabirds and other marine animals.
  • Over 80 municipalities across the U.S. have banned polystyrene, due to its significant environmental impacts.
  • Compostable containers are non-toxic, plant-based and carried by every distributor in Hawai’i.
  • The resources and energy to make 1 polystyrene container could make 3 compostable containers.
  • To date, there have been no documented cases of restaurants or food providers going out of business because of similar polystyrene phase outs.
  • Over 3 million tons of polystyrene products are disposed of annually in U.S. landfills.
  • Polystyrene cannot be recycled after use with food, and ultimately, less than 1% of polystyrene is recycled.
  • They are more than 90% air, causing them to break apart easily and litter waterways and blow out to sea.
  • Eco-friendly containers (either compostable or reusable) are economical and eco-friendly alternatives to polystyrene.
  • The price different between polystyrene and eco-friendly alternatives is virtually $0. The price difference between many compostable products and polystyrene is negligible, and there are, in fact, a number of compostable products that are cheaper than their polystyrene counterparts.
  • Recognizing the environmental impacts of polystyrene, a number of local, Maui-based restaurants have switched to compostable, eco-friendly products and been happy with the results.
  • The ordinance bill will not go into effect until July 2018. This gives Maui County’s restaurants plenty of time to test out the many eco-friendly alternatives and find which works best for them.
  • Maui County needs a full phase out to gain the many positive benefits that will come from eliminating polystyrene food containers on our islands. Our future generations will thank the Council for supporting this important ordinance bill.


Please come testify in person in support of Bill 127 (2016) “The Ban the Foam Bill” on Monday, May 8th at 9 am at Maui County’s Council Chamber, 8th Floor, 200 South High Street, Wailuku.