Latest Articles

  • ‘Energy and Passion’ for Maunalua Bay Drives a Deep Debate Over the Future of the Marine Sanctuary

    · By Nathan Eagle

    You could still dump aunty’s ashes into Maunalua Bay but there’s debate over whether building a sand castle on the shore would be allowed under a proposed federal management plan.

    A few hundred people packed Hahaione Elementary’s cafeteria Tuesday evening for a town hall meeting about the impact of possible new restrictions for the bay that stretches from Diamond Head to Koko Head.

    The bay has been part of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary since 1997. Now the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration wants to work with the state to add a new layer of protection by making the degraded bay a special sanctuary management area.

    Hundreds of Hawaii Kai residents gather at Hahaione Elementary School cafeteria to listen to state and federal officials and share their concerns about a proposed plan to add new restrictions for Maunalua Bay.

    Cory Lum/Civil Beat

    The public comment period on the draft management plan and environmental review of the proposal officially closed June 19 but confusion over what the proposed regulations would actually do has persisted. Even the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, which co-manages the bay with NOAA, is unclear.

    East Honolulu elected officials organized a three-hour discussion with the hope of separating fact from fiction. They brought in Malia Chow, the sanctuary superintendent, and Suzanne Case, the new head of DLNR, to answer questions but the pair hardly made a dent in the room full of people predominantly against the proposal.

    Hawaii Kai businessmen,

  • Honouliuli National Monument: Important Window to Dark Past

    · By The Civil Beat Editorial Board

    Seventy-three years ago last week, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, a decree that ultimately led to the incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans in camps across the country.

    It’s an ugly chapter in our nation’s history, one experienced in highly personal and painful ways by individuals, families and communities in many areas, but particularly so in Hawaii. Given the singular role that the Pearl Harbor attack played as the predicate to the executive order and the subsequent incarceration of 400 civilians and 4,000 prisoners of war in the Honouliuli camp here on Oahu, 9066 is an important part of our state’s history and its anniversary, cause for solemn remembrance.

    President Obama’s welcome signature Tuesday of the designation of the Honouliuli National Monument ensures that “the difficult story of the internment camp’s impact on the Japanese American community and the fragility of civil rights during times of conflict” will be shared for generations to come, as the White House said in a statement.

    World War II-era view of the Honouliuli Internment Camp.

    National Park Service

    Despite the camp’s status as the largest and longest-used such facility in Hawaii, the canyon site, a short distance from Pearl Harbor, had been neglected and forgotten by many since its closure in 1946 until it was rediscovered in 2002. A delegation of individuals representing the Japanese American community in Hawaii traveled to Washington at the request of the White House to take part in Tuesday’s private signing ceremony.

    The president announced the establishment

  • Hawaii DOT Fined $1.2 Million for Stormwater Violations at 2 Harbors

    · By Nathan Eagle

    Updated 4:03 p.m., 9/10/2014

    The Hawaii Department of Transportation has to pay a $1.2 million penalty and fix federal Clean Water Act stormwater violations at Honolulu and Kalaeloa harbors under a multi-agency agreement announced Wednesday.

    The department also has to create an Office of Environmental Compliance, rank and inspect harbor tenants based on their risk of polluting and establish a comprehensive Construction Runoff Control Program to manage discharges from development sites.

    The agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice, Environmental Protection Agency and state Department of Health stems from EPA and DOH inspections in December 2008 at the two harbors.

    Matson shipyard area on Honolulu Harbor, July 21.

    PF Bentley/Civil Beat

    “Stormwater discharges pollute Hawaii’s streams and coastal waters,” Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest, said in a joint EPA-DOH release. “By making long-term changes to its operations, HDOT is taking major steps to increase the protection of beaches, coral reefs and water quality on Oahu.”

    The DOT has to pay the $1.2 million civil penalty, plus interest, within seven days of the entry of the consent decree. Half of the money will be paid to the DOH and half to the U.S. government, according to the decree.

    Update “The Hawaii DOT has already made major strides in improving storm water run-off management plans in its Highways and Airports Divisions,” interim DOT Director Ford Fuchigami said in a statement. “The creation of the environmental compliance office will ensure that HDOT has staff strictly focused on environmental issues across all divisions.”

    The DOT has 180

  • Hawaii’s Federal Take? More Than $20 Billion

    · By Adrienne LaFrance

    Hawaii still gets more money from the federal government than it does from the tourism industry.

  • Government Shutdown Aftershocks for Charities Could Undercut Donations

    · By Manjari Fergusson

    The Combined Federal Campaign was put on hold during the shutdown; charities are banking on loyalty.

  • Embattled Hawaii Nonprofit Enjoyed Tens of Millions in Military Dollars

    · By Nick Grube

    ORI’s military contracts grew fast despite investigations for misspending federal grant money.

  • Hawaii Spy Case: Did Chinese Girlfriend Lure Secrets From Contractor?

    · By Nick Grube

    A federal judge explains why she thinks Benjamin Pierce Bishop can be released to a halfway house.

  • Waikele Blast: ‘They Should Be Alive Today,’ Chemical Board Says

    · By Adrienne LaFrance

    U.S. Chemical Safety Board implements a federal fireworks safety overhaul based on explosion that killed five.

  • White House: Middle Class Tax Hike Could Cut Hawaii Spending By $1B

    · By Sara Lin and Michael Levine

    UPDATED 1 p.m. Council of Economic Advisers releases state-by-state fiscal cliff analyses.

  • Akaka Retiring: Plenty Aloha, But What About Accomplishments?

    · By Michael Levine

    A look back at 36 years in Congress for Hawaii’s junior U.S. senator.

  • FTA Says It Will Sign $1.55 Billion Deal For Honolulu Rail Project

    · By Michael Levine

    UPDATED Notification for 30-day review comes just days before key funding deadline.

  • Spokesman: Inouye Healthy, Fall Unrelated to Grueling Schedule

    · By Michael Levine

    The 88-year-old Hawaii senator cut his head in a fall at his Maryland home.

  • Will A New Law Mean Federal Funding for Honolulu BRT?

    · By Michael Levine

    Camp Cayetano says proposed rapid bus system qualifies as fixed guideway.

  • Honolulu Rail Delegation Seeks To Smooth Concerns In D.C.

    · By Michael Levine

    Hawaii Supreme Court ruling on burials raises FTA questions.

  • Akaka Bill Sails Through Committee, But Tough Sledding Ahead

    · By Michael Levine

    Inouye says chances of passage for Native Hawaiian recognition this year are “bad.”