East Maui Streams Update: BLNR Did it AGAIN

Today, November 9, 2017, the State’s Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) voted 5-0 to once again renew Alexander & Baldwin and East Maui Irrigation, Co.ʻs 1 year revocable permits for 2018, which allow them to take up to 80 million gallons of water a day from East Mauiʻs streams. The five members present were Keone Downing, Stan Roehrig, Thomas Oi, Suzanne Case, and Chris Yuen.

The Land Board virtually ignored the testimony of dozens of people who gave reason after reason for why these leases should not be renewed, including that A&B has shown no immediate need for access to this water. While Member Roehrig voiced that the water take should be limited to 50 mgd, the rest of the members ignored this. They did add 2 new conditions to the permit: requirement of clean up of debris around the stream diversions and that the permits must be made consistent with the Interim Instream Flow Standard (IIFS), which is currently being deliberated on and will be set by the Stateʻs Commission on Water Resources Management.

A&B has not provided the information necessary to justify authorizing a draw of 80 million gallons of water from the public. That water belongs in the streams. When actual farm plans are developed, new petitions for water that include actual data can be applied for from the Water Commission. Until then, the water belongs in the streams.

This is disappointing news, but WE WILL NOT GIVE UP. A&B does not have a right to East Maui’s streams, and we will keep fighting to change this.




Article in Civil Beat on the decision, featuring interview with Sierra Club Maui Executive Committee member Lucienne De Naie


Take Action: No More Rubber Stamp for A&B to Take East Maui Streams Water

Take Action by Wednesday, November 8th, 2017!

Once again, A&B is trying to get a one-year permit to continue diverting water from East Maui streams, with no oversight and no analysis of how these diversions continue to hurt East Maui’s residents and environment.

Click here to submit your testimony against any rubber-stamping of these permits. [link deactivated because action finished]

The Board of Land and Natural Resources is meeting Thursday morning on O’ahu – so submit your testimony by Wednesday!

If you’re on O’ahu, you can testify in person at the BLNR meeting: Thursday, Nov. 9th at 9 am, 1151 Punchbowl, Room #132

In December 2016, the BLNR once again granted Alexander & Baldwin (A&B) and East Maui Irrigation (EMI) four revocable permits to continue diverting East Maui streams, with stipulations that included: capping the amount of water A&B will be allowed to extract from the East Maui ecosystem at 80 million gallons per day (down from the previous 160 million gallons per day), enforcing the July 2016 mandate that A&B fully restore stream flow in seven East Maui streams vital for taro farming, as well as adding Honomanu Stream to the list of the streams to be restored, and removing all structures adversely affecting the health of native stream species in the ecosystem.

In the past year, A&B hasn’t shown in any way that it needs this access to 80 million gallons of stream water a day. There is no reason they should get a free pass and have these permits renewed AGAIN. Instead, the BLNR should deny these permits and A&B should be required to submit an Environmental Impact Statement as soon as possible if it wants the BLNR to consider allowing it any stream water in the future.

Submit a quick testimony letter to BLNR asking them to reject the renewal of A&B’s permits. Go to: https://mauisierraclub.org/campaigns/east-maui-streams/

#eastmauistreams #waterislife #eolaikawai #olaikawai #eastmaui#nahiku #keanae #hana #huelo #AlexanderandBaldwin #water #streams #maui


Final Arguments in East Maui Streams Contested Case


The State Commission on Water Resource Management (CWRM) will hear final arguments in the East Maui Water Contested Case on Monday, October 9th, 2017 at 5 pm at the Haʻikū Community Center.

Please come or send someone from your ʻohana to show support for East Maui ʻohana, fishermen, kalo farmers, keiki, and kūpuna.

Please note: only the lawyers will present at this meeting. There will be NO public testimony.

Take Action for East Maui Streams!

This action has now finished.


Tell the state: we need a FAIR & HONEST Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed A&B East Maui Stream lease.

Use the form below to submit your letter by Friday, March 10th.

Background Information

Why Does A&B need an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to divert East Maui streams?

  • Alexander & Baldwin (A&B) has requested a 30-year Water Lease from the HI State Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR).
  • The lease application, if approved as is, would give A&B the right to continue to divert East Maui streams flowing through four License areas on public lands, from Honopou to Nahiku.
  • Before a lease like this can be approved, BLNR requires an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) be commissioned.
  • The EIS is supposed to document all the ways the lease proposal could impact natural or cultural resources, and whether these impacts can be mitigated.
  • The BLNR then uses the EIS to determine whether or not to approve a lease.
Who should prepare the EIS?
  •  A&B has hired a consultant to prepare the EIS, but the leases are awarded through public bidding, and could theoretically, go to another bidder.
  • We can’t count on the EIS to have an impartial view if A&B hires, pays for, and directs the consultants who prepare this document.

Is the lease bidding process really fair, open and legitimate if A&B is the only bidder to have prepared an EIS?

  • With A&B in charge of the EIS process, the public cannot trust that the EIS findings will be complete because the consultant is first and foremost accountable to the entity that pays its bills, which is A&B.
  • Our communities have waited over 20 years for an EIS that discusses the real impacts of the longtime East Maui stream diversions. Let’s get it right!
  • We want the EIS to be as thorough as possible so that the BLNR will have adequate information to make a decision on whether to approve a lease for this area and, if so, what types of limitations or alternative options to a 30 year lease should be considered.

Send your letter to the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) staff asking them to direct the preparation of this EIS.

  • This will ensure that core parts of the EIS – the definition of the current environment and the identification of alternatives – be comprehensive and encompass all the possible outcomes for the management of these waters and areas.
  • This will also help instill trust that the completed EIS will be impartial and independent of A&B’s wants.
  • Your letter will be sent to DLNR, A&B and their consultant company Wilson Okamoto Corporation. You letter both requests a change to the process as well as gives comments on what topics must be covered in the EIS, no matter who writes it.
The EIS Preparation Notice for the proposed Water Lease is available at: http://bit.ly/2m55pZn
Comments on the EIS Preparation Notice are due by Friday, March 10, 2017.