Imagine a perfect offshore right hand barrel, swaying palms, and a tropical reef. The fastest wave in the world resides here, along with the various marine life that share this reef and make it their home. This place is on the island of Maui, it’s called Ma`alaea, and it’s about to be destroyed.
At this point, it’s going to take a miracle to save Ma`alaea, and if there’s one out there, the time is now to come forth. On June 23, 1998, a public hearing was held on the recently issued supplemental environmental impact statement. It was a last chance for voices from all sides to be heard, and although 95 percent of the testimony was against the demolition of Ma`alaea reef, it is not looking very promising for the people and sea life that frequent Ma`alaea.
To put a harbor where this sacred sanctuary exists is the plan. Dynamiting approximately five acres of live coral reef, thus annihilating one of the most perfect waves in the world along with all of nature’s occupants within the area.
Still the battle is being lost to ignorance and greed. The only way to block destruction is a lawsuit which proves that the impact to the environment is unacceptable and far greater than what is stated in the EIS. A lawsuit will be very expensive, problematic, and far from a sure thing. It might still be avoided by a massive and immediate public outcry to any and/or all of the public officials and politicians listed below.
When the final decision is made to go forward with the harbor project, a legal battle will begin. The case will be presented based on scientific data, and funding is currently being sought. Even after a lengthy court battle, the chances of a reversal are slim.
This is the last call for people to come forward and make a difference in our community. Donations to the organizations involved are very helpful, yet it’s going to take more than money to halt this so called “progress.” Pray for a miracle and dig deep into your resources, or we’ll see you at the funeral of Ma`alaea, one of the most precious waves on earth.
“Ma`alaea is a Hawaiian and National treasure that should be preserved like Haleakala Crater or Old Faithful in Yellowstone. The entire area could and should be re-zoned as a Historic Preservation District for future generations to share, see, and enjoy.”
“The decisions will be made behind closed doors, and most likely will benefit those with the most monetary gains.”
“To ruin the fastest wave in the world and kill the surrounding marine life for profit doesn’t make any sense at all. It’s going to be bad Mana for all those involved in the destruction.”
“If this goes through, and they destroy the wave at Ma`alaea, it’s going to take away from Maui’s lure. It’s completely crazy what they want to do.”
Who To Contact:
- US Army corp of Engineers, Honolulu Engineer Dist., Bldg 230, Fort Shafter, HI 96858-5440; Attn: Benton Ching. Fax (808) 841-1581; email: Benton.Ching@poh1.usace.army.mil
- Dept. of Land and Natural Resources, DOBOR. 333 Queen St., Suite 300, Honolulu, HI 96813 attn: Howard Gehring (808) 587-1966
- Gov Benjamin Cayetano State Capitol, 5th floor, 415 S. Beretania St., Honolulu, HI 96813
- Mayor Linda Lingle, County of Maui, 200 South High St. Wailuku, HI 96793
- Senator Akaka, 720 Hart Senate Office Bldg. Washington, D.C. 20510 Fax (202) 224-2126
- Senator Inouye, 722 Hart Senate Bldg. Washington, D.C. 20510 Fax (202) 224-6747
- Representative Abercrombie, 1233 Longworth House Bldg. Washington, D.C. 20515 Fax (202) 225-4580
This story originally ran in MauiTime’s July 7, 1998 issue. The plan to expand Ma`alaea Harbor continued on until 2012, when it finally died.
Photo: Erik Aeder Photography