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View Diary: Maui's Dirty Little Secret (94 comments)

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  •  Great, informative diary--thanks. (17+ / 0-)

    You mention that other sugar companies operate cleaner than this one.

    Just the same, if you were already contemplating going off added sugar, completely--as I was--here is another reason why.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 07:57:13 AM PST

    •  Sugar in the Raw (tm) is HC&S sugar (16+ / 0-)

      Cumberland Packing who manufactures Sugar in the Raw (as well as other artificial sweeteners) gets its sugar from the Maui plantation.

      Despite repeated pleas, they refuse to pressure HC&S into stopping their polluting practices like cane burning and coal burning.

      BTW, check out Cumberland Packing - whoa they are a corrupt corporation.

    •  I wouldn't say other sugar ops are cleaner (4+ / 0-)

      The 5 U.S. sugar plantations got together and passed a law exempting them from most of the Clean Air regulations based on their assertion that bagass is renewable and that it was too hard to meet the standards that other boilers are held to.

      Some of us are of the opinion that the ONLY reason HC&S still farms sugarcane after the rest of the plantations folded, is to get their electrical generation exempted from the more stringent boiler standards.

      •  Don't forget the water! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Karen from Maui, mimi

        HC&S diverts over a hundred million gallons a day from many of Maui's streams. Although the legality of these diversions and inter-basin transfers is questionable, HC&S relies on a combination of grandfathered status, facts on the ground, and political clout to continue these diversions.

        The value of this water on Maui, where many aquifers are overdrawn, is somewhere between incalculable and priceless. The damage done by drying up so many streams is also incalculable, of course. But there is little question at this point that the sugar is grown to justify taking the water, rather than the water being taken to grow the sugar.

        •  So true (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ypochris

          Some folks upcountry Maui have been waiting for decades to get water meters.

          But A&B is building hundreds of houses there and traded their "irrigation" water for water meters, jumping ahead of all the people on the waiting list.

          This is why A&B is not investing in updating the HC&S mill or the harvesting equipment.  They don't care about the operation other than to land and water bank.

          •  if there is land for sale on Maui, often (0+ / 0-)

            you have to pay a water fee to a private company in addition of what you use in water. Who owns that water? Why isn't it public water? It's not cheap, fees up to $300.00 a month plus what you use. I don't know what they charge for a gallon, but I found it strange that so much ag land is condominionized and you have to pay fees for water like condo fees, though there is no building on the land yet. I haven't digged into that because I couldn't afford such anyhow.

            •  Hawai'i Constitution says (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mimi

              Water is a public trust with a hierarchy of users:

              All public natural resources are held in trust by the State for the benefit of the people...The State has an obligation to protect, control and regulate the use of Hawaii's water resources for the benefit of its people.

              The legislature shall provide for a water resources agency which, as provided by law, shall set overall water conservation, quality and use policies; define beneficial and reasonable uses; protect ground and surface water resources, watersheds and natural stream environments; establish criteria for water use priorities while assuring appurtenant rights and existing correlative and riparian uses and establish procedures for regulating all uses of Hawaii's water resources.  

              What this means is that the state Water Commission gives permits for wells, taking of water from streams etc.

              However, the infrastructure can be privately owned and that is how the plantations were able to grab about 90% of Maui's water supply.  Prior to this version of the constitution (when the public trust doctrine was added) A&B (HC&S parent company) built a system of waterways, weirs, tunnels, reservoirs and wells -- and even a huge underground cavern storing water above Pa'ia.  

              So they control the water because they own the infrastructure.

              The County of Maui could demand the water but to date no one has had the courage to do this because A&B controls the politics of this island and determines who gets elected.

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