FLOOD THEIR INBOXES: Contact Representative Luke and the members of the Finance Committee and ask them to vote NO on HB1326.
HB1326 passed its second reading on the House floor today and its headed to the Finance committee next. Call and email the committee and ask them to VOTE NO on HB1326. Then be sure to thank Representatives Wildberger, Perruso, Eli, and McKelvey for voting NO on the floor.
Chair: Luke, Sylvia
Vice Chair: Cullen, Ty J.K.
Kitagawa, Lisa (voted with reservations)
Hashimoto, Troy N.
Yamashita, Kyle T.
Nakamura, Nadine K.
Nishimoto, Scott Y.
Gates, Cedric Asuega
Matayoshi , Scot Z.
HB1326 gives water diverters—like A&B (now Mahi Pono) and KIUC—an UNLIMITED amount of water, for an INDEFINITE amount of time, for UNKNOWN uses. This bill provides no standards or criteria for ensuring that stream ecosystems are protected from excessive water diversions.
A&B is asking lawmakers to pass HB1326—because they promised in its sale agreement with Mahi Pono that the state would give them 30 million gallons of water a day—or else A&B will have to pay Mahi Pono $62 million. But it will impact more than just East Maui. This bill would also extend temporary water permits held by others, like Kauaʻi Island Utility Cooperative for diverting sacred waters of Waiʻaleʻale and Waikoko.
Lawmakers are often quick to criticize DLNR for mismanagement but then turnaround and support bills like this that ensure the mismanagement could only get worse. There is no criteria or oversight written into this bill that protects streams, its native ecosystems, or the communities that depend on them for basic necessities.
There are bills in front of the legislature that set a good example of how things should be done. Bills like HB848—that provide for the protection of stream resources, while allowing stream diversions for diversified agriculture so long as it does not harm the health of the streams. However, HB848 has yet to get scheduled for a hearing.
There is enough water for everyone to prosper, it is just a matter of striking the right balance. HB1326 is basically a blank check to Mahi Pono, A&B, KIUC and others to continue the unjust practice of taking unlimited amounts of water from Hawaiʻi’s streams—to the detriment of our native ecosystems and the people that depend on them. E ola i kai wai!! Water is life!!
HB1326 WAS HEARD AND PASSED OUT OF WLH WITH A 5-TO-1 VOTE ON FEB 8.
Mahalo nui to EVERYONE who submitted testimony in opposition to this terrible bill. There were over 600 testimonies submitted, most in opposition, with over a dozen verbal testimonies provided at the hearing. The bill was amended from providing diverters the ability to take water for an indefinite about of time to seven years, including authorization to continue diverting while permits are challenged in court.
Voting for the bill were: Committee Chairperson Ryan Yamane from Mililani, Vice Chair Chris Todd, and members Rep. Nicole Lowen, and Rep. David Tarnas, all from the Big Island, and Rep. Sharon Har, representing Kapolei. Rep. Thielen from Kailua/Kaneohe was absent and excused. Rep. Tina Wildberger from Maui was the sole no vote.