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East Maui kalo farmers rejoice over Hawaii Supreme Court ruling

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KEANAE (HawaiiNewsNow) – East Maui taro farmers are thrilled over a major ruling by the Hawaii Supreme Court last week.

The court ruled the state should not have allowed the diversion of millions of gallons of water a day from East Maui streams.

Na Moku Aupuni O Koolau Hui President Jerome Kekiwi Jr. said he and the other plaintiffs are energized and ecstatic.

“To all the people in Hawaii, the keiki, the kanaka maoli, the Hawaiian people all around Hawaii – Holomua!” he said.

In a ruling on March 3, the Hawaii Supreme Court stating the state’s ongoing practice of permitting the diversion of more than 100 million gallons of water a day from East Maui streams violated state environmental law.

Kekiwi said they owe this victory to their ancestors who started this fight decades ago.

“Our kupuna went work super hard for get that justice, and these words are straight from our kupuna – ‘the truth has been told.”

The Department of Land and Natural Resources Chair Suzanne Case said in a statement:

The state and lower courts now have a clearer roadmap for what is required before they issue new permits.

“Water is life and haloa get the first rights to the water. That’s all we wanted to do was just grow our taro and farm our lo’i … water is the main element to live,” said Kekiwi.

The ruling means that an environmental review is required for significant water diversion.

The farmers believe that will mean more water for them.

“We’ve been hurt too long. Now it’s our time for see the farmers come back, for see the water in the stream, for see the fish life and the aqua culture, the aqua life come back in the river,” Kekiwi said.

Copyright 2022 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.


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