Action alert: Single use plastics ban hearing on April 17

Maui’s single-use plastics ban passed first reading (votes 8-1) in March. The council will next hear the bill on April 17. You can tune in to the meeting and submit testimony from the safety of your home:

We are asking folks to email our Council Members to thank them for voting for the ban in the first reading and also to email your testimony for the 2nd and FINAL reading in support of the Plastic Ban by Noon on April 16th.

EMAIL TESTIMONY for COUNCIL MEETINGS
to the Office of the County Clerk at county.clerk@mauicounty.us or (808) 270-7171 (fax).

PARTICIPATE BY PHONE OR VIDEO

On April 17th at 9am:

To provide oral testimony, call 1-408-740-7256 or 1-888-240-2560 (toll-free) and input meeting ID 592474137 followed by Passcode 1139.

To join by videoconference, use the following link: https://primetime.bluejeans.com/a2m/live-event/pzhvjjst.

 

Ideas for solo hiking – South Maui

In April 2020 we are required to keep a distance from people outside of our own household to slow the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 and to allow our health and other services to take care of those who need help. Sierra Club has therefor canceled all organized outings until further notice. But we are still allowed to venture out on our own or with members of our own household for exercise such as walking, running, hiking, swimming and surfing. No need to stay cooped up at home all day. Just keep at least six feet between yourself and anyone you meet. This is the first of several posts on good places to go hiking/walking without a guide.

South Maui is blessed with miles of easily accessible coastline that even novice hikers can enjoy. You can walk from beach to beach with only short detours on low grassy bluffs all the way from Kalama Park to Ulua Beach, over 3 miles. This stretch includes beautiful views out over low rocky cliffs as well as eight sandy beaches. Stay as close as you can to the water to keep on this trail. When you get to the South end of Ulua Beach you can walk up to the paved Wailea Beach Walk and continue for another mile to Polo Beach. No need to do the whole trail – you can generally get to it from South Kihei Road or Wailea Alanui Drive from one or both ends of any of the ten beaches it passes. Here is an approximate map of the 4+ mile (one-way) path described:

bit.ly/south-maui-walk

 

Annual Meeting

2020 Annual Meeting graphic
Members and Non-Members Welcome!

Maui Group Annual meeting on Leap day, February 29 was a great chance to honor environmental heroes and enjoy good food, fun and fellowship. Mahalo to Flatbread Pizza, Nalu’s South Shore Grill, Monsoon India, Hawaiian Moons, Aloha Aina BBQ, Maui Coffee Roasters and Maui Sustainable Solutions for food and beverage donations. About 100 attendees got legislative updates from Chapter Policy advocate Jodi Malinoski, Rep Tina Wildberger and Council member Shane Sinenci.

congratulations to our award winners:

Onipa‘a: Walle Landenberger and Kai Nishiki
Mālama ka ‘āina: Justin Kekiwi, Tina Roth, Autumn Rae Ness
Mālama kahaki: Jim Koons, Bob Aldrich
Volunteer of the Year: Kim Toomey

 

Re-Tree Hawaii

The news on the climate front continues to get worse. We had at least one day in February when Antarctica was warmer (65 degrees) than many places on Maui. Melting glaciers and polar ice caps will trigger an accelerating increase in carbon dioxide and global temperatures.

Hawai‘i has to do its part to reach carbon neutrality – stop releasing more net greenhouse gases that capture heat in the atmosphere – by shutting down all fossil fuel plants (Kahului and Ma‘alaea on Maui), replacing ground transportation with electric or other zero-emission vehicles, improving public transportation and replacing inter-island traffic with more efficient and ultimately zero-carbon-emitting means of travel. More local production of food and other goods for consumption in Hawaii will reduce the need for shipping, which is a significant source of greenhouse gases. Limiting tourism to sustainable levels would dampen the continued growth in flights.

However, air and sea transport to and from Hawaii will continue to generate very large amounts of greenhouse gases for years beyond when the steps above have been taken, and we have an accumulated carbon debt which will take even longer to pay off. We have to also invest in removing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere.

There are new technologies in the works that may help, but there is one established technology that has been around since before the industrial revolution, before man, before any animal life: photosynthesis. Plants consume CO2 and water with the help of sunlight and produce oxygen. Trees are champions in that they can continue to do this work for dozens or hundreds of years once they get started.

Unfortunately, the increase in CO2 emissions has been paralleled by continuous destruction of forest areas on the planet – 15 billion trees per year according to one article, with only 5 billion replanted. Most of this is due to expansion of industrial agriculture and logging.

We can do better, much better! Lā Ho‘oulu Pae Moku – ReTree Hawaii – is a campaign to plant trees (and other plants) in every region of every populated Hawaiian island on October 30, 2020. Find how how you can be part of the solution:

https://retree-hawaii.org

Whale Day 2020!

The Sierra Club hosted a booth at Whale Day on Feb 8th at Kalama Park in the “Eco-Alley” section of this annual event.  It was a huge success with many participants asking for more information on climate change, water rights issues, agriculture, cultural preservation and much more!  We had an “Eco-stamp bracelet” activity and a Volcanoes National Park coloring activity as well as information on our native endangered Hoary Bat for the keiki to enjoy.  We even enlisted new volunteers and members!

Sierra Club Benefit Night at Maui Ocean Center

Kecia & Flip 

Thank you to Tapani Vuori, Flip Nicklin, and those who join us for a fantastic “Sierra Club Benefit Night” at the Maui Ocean Center Sphere! We learned, we laughed, and we were inspired by all that was shared of the many years of whale research, underwater photography, and video footage captured by award winning National Geographic photographer Flip Nicklin. You can learn more of the latest research at the upcoming 14th Annual Whale Tales Event hosted by Whale Trust.

Supreme Court Oral Hearings in Lahaina Injection Wells Case November 6, 2019

This is the Supreme Court justices (in black) questioning Mayor Victorino’s lawyers (in red), slightly condensed.

Coral reef image courtesy of Caitlin Maratea, owner of Banyan Tree Divers in Lahaina.

Elbert Lin
Your Honor, I think if it still goes through the groundwater, the — the question under the statute is what is the — what is the conveyance, what is the thing that carries and delivers the pollutants.

I think even if it’s forcefully put into the groundwater, the groundwater is what’s carrying it. Now I can imagine, Your Honor, scenarios as we discuss in our brief where you’ve got, say, a point source, a pipe that’s very close to the water’s edge and — and expels the pollutants into the water.

The thing that’s carrying it, the last conveyance in that factual scenario, would be the pipe.

Justice Stephen G. Breyer
So what happens if you just take the pipe and you decide what we’ll do is we’re going to end the pipe 35 feet from the river or from the ocean or something? Now you know perfectly well that it’ll drip down into the ground and it’ll be carried out into the navigable water. In your theory, that isn’t covered?

Elbert Lin
In that scenario, Your Honor, the land is the conveyance and that pollution would be regulated under the nonpoint source —

Justice Stephen G. Breyer
Well, no, the conveyance is the groundwater that is underneath the land into which the pipe drips the pollutant.

Elbert Lin
— then the groundwater is what’s carrying and delivering the pollutants —

Justice Stephen G. Breyer
All right, but then what we have is, I take it, an absolute road map for people who want to avoid the point source regulation.

All we do is we just cut off the — cut off the — the pipes or whatever, five feet from the ocean or five feet from the navigable stream or five feet from — you see? You understand the problem. What I’m looking for in this case is what’s a standard that will prevent evasion, which I’m not — I don’t see how yours prevents evasion.

Justice Elena Kagan
Excuse me, Mr. Lin. Congress wanted the point source program to do something.

The Congress wanted point sources that were discharging pollutants to receive a permit before they did so.

And I think what Justice Breyer is saying is that nobody would ever have to go through that process of getting a permit if they knew that they could do something like what Justice Breyer was suggesting, just stop the pipe five feet before the ocean.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor
— but that’s the problem, isn’t it? Because it presumes the state will regulate, and some states don’t.

So what you’re doing is cutting off permitting because you’re limiting the word “to” — or — or morphing the word “to navigable waters” and changing it into “into navigable waters.” And that’s what Justice Scalia looked at was the plain text and said “to” is different than “into.” And so, for us, the question, I believe, is, do you read the plain language and does it say from a point source, it’s the well, to the ocean? It can be traced, yes.

I think the words are pretty clear.

Elbert Lin
A few answers to that, Your Honor.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor
To — to — to accept your meaning, we have to transform “in” into “into.”

Elbert Lin
Your Honor, if I could start with the statutory language, I think the wells as an example is important to address, but if you — I think if you look at the words “addition from any point source,” and you substitute in, for point source, pipe, which is in the statute and nobody disagrees is a — is a point source, addition to a lake, to an ocean, to a river, a navigable water, an addition to a lake of pollutants from a pipe, addition to a lake of sewage water from a pipe. I think, I submit, Your Honor, that the ordinary understanding of that, what one pictures in one’s mind is a pipe that is next to the water, not a pipe that is a mile away.

— that has delivery in it and it’s — it’s being associated with conveyance, which is a thing that transports, carries, and delivers.

Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh
That sounds like the directly argument that Justice Scalia’s opinion rejected.

Elbert Lin
Your Honor, we don’t think it can be found in the text because we don’t read “from” — we don’t think Congress intended “from” to mean causation.

So, one, we don’t think it can be found in the text.

Two —

Justice Elena Kagan
But that would be a normal way of reading the word “from,” wouldn’t it; in other words, to say, to decide whether something is from something else, you have to look as to whether it’s from something else? (Laughter.)

Malcolm L. Stewart
If it goes five feet to the shore and the pollutant travels onto the land, travels across the land and into the water, you know, through its own force, it spews out of the pipe or simply through the force of gravity because you’re on an incline, we would say that’s covered.

Justice Elena Kagan
So, if the pipe is on the — is on the land and spews onto the land, it’s regulated and you need a permit; but, if the pipe is underground, it’s not and you don’t need a permit?

Malcolm L. Stewart
You would not need a — you would not need a NPDES permit because you would not be discharging onto — you would not be discharging to the navigable water —

Justice Stephen G. Breyer
It’s the same problem

Justice Stephen G. Breyer
Just if you have a reaction to this.

If I don’t accept — I’m not saying — but if I don’t accept because I think these two programs are quite different, ground source and point source, different purposes, et cetera, and I’m worried about the evasion or area, you see, that we talked about first. So it seems to me this case, in my mind at the moment, is what’s the standard for separating the sheep from the goats? And you’re basically saying the Ninth Circuit’s way too broad and so are they, so we come up with zero, okay? Close to zero. Now the best — I want to try out one thing, if you think — have any reaction to it. If it’s — it’s regulated or under this, if it’s the functional equivalent of a direct discharge. Now the reason that I put that is because that leaves a lot of room for the EPA to write regulations, to decide what is the functional equivalent of a direct discharge.

And it’s narrower than the Ninth Circuit.

You want to — if you have to have a reaction to that, have it.

Malcolm L. Stewart
I still have concerns about any approach that could be interpreted as saying if the pollutants make it to the navigable water, then it’s covered.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor
Why are you doing what you’re doing? This is fairly traceable to you in large quantities.

The state didn’t control you.

What regulations are there in place that do?

— I mean the — the polluters.

What are they — what is being done to stop them?

If they followed —

— all the laws, and they still are polluting, they’re getting away with it.

So something failed.

The preventive measures of this law were not followed and something failed.