The Hawaii Land Use Commission is considering whether to allow an industrial park on farmland in Lualualei Valley. The contested case hearing process for this decision is currently underway. We just completed the second set of two-day hearings, where the developer introduced a bucket of dirt.
Why? What does the bucket of dirt prove?
We weren’t sure. The bucket was introduced into evidence on the first day and it sat there, staring at us until the last hour of the hearing. The attorney for the developer questioned the representative from the State Department of Agriculture. And I am paraphrasing here, but basically it went like this:
Attorney (standing over open bucket of dirt, pulls out a rock): Can you farm dirt with rocks like this?
Dept. of Ag: Yes.
All that intrigue over the mysterious bucket of dirt and what did we learn? That things aren’t always what people tell you they are.
Just because the developer says this land is not fit for farming, doesn’t make it true and it doesn’t justify turning that land into an industrial park.
Likewise, just because the developer says there is no known cultural significance or environmental health issues or traffic problems… doesn’t make it true.
With just a few pointed questions, we learned that the traffic impact analysis actually isn’t adequate, the air quality and run-off studies are not relevant to Lualualei Valley, and archeological survey hasn’t been updated since 1993.
The Concerned Elders of Waianae are preparing now to present their side of the case on January 6 and 7th. If you are interested in providing public testimony, please join us at 9 am on January 6th and the LUC offices in Honolulu (235 Beretania St. #405).