There are two Public Water System Hearings this week during which comments are being heard concerning Alexander & Baldwin’s use of public resources. A&B has applied to the state Board of Land and Natural Resources for a 30-year lease of water from streams in Nahiku, Keanae and Huelo, according to published reports.
This week, Maui citizens have the chance to speak out against a 30-year extension of what some call “a rigged plantation-era water system.” For more than a century, this system has diverted the majority of all the water from vibrant streams on the island to the benefit of the A&B, according to activist Carol L. Healy.
Rep. Kaniela Ing,D–South Maui, urges all residents who are concerned with the island’s ecological and agricultural future to please take the time to show up at one or both of the water system hearings this week and to “bring your emotions and stories to overcome the political skill, power and government-corrupting influence of A&B,” according to an email press release sent by Healy.
The first hearing for public comments will be in Kahului at the Maui Electric Company Meeting Room from 5 to 7pm on Wednesday, Feb. 22. The second hearing for public comments will take place on Thursday, Feb. 23 at the Haiku Park and Community Center.
The meetings provide an important opportunity for members of the public and leaders in the community to express alternatives to corporate agribusiness and mono crops for Maui’s public water.
Ing reportedly believes that Maui’s agricultural future must be centered around leasing small plots to small innovative farmers and allowing shared equipment through co-owned ag parks, according to Healy.