Both sides claim win in Makua ruling - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Both sides claim win in Makua ruling

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email 

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The lawyer for the Native Hawaiian group Malama Makua said there's more than meets the eye in Makua Valley on Oahu's leeward coast.

"There's a whole history. There's a rich tapestry of history at Makua and some of it lies below the ground," Earthjustice attorney David Henkin said.

He said Hawaiian cultural sites are all over the 400 acres the Army used and would like to use again for live-fire training.

He's hailing the ruling Wednesday from District judge Susan Oki Mollway.

"The Army needs to go back, do the surveys, do the studies. put them out to public review and comment and then come out with a new final environmental impact statement and new decision about whether Makua is a wise place for this type of training," he said.

Army Garrison Hawaii fired back Friday.

In a statement it said the ruling sides with its argument that "the settlement agreements do not require the Army to conduct any particular type of survey."

The statement also said the Army's survey of three areas in question is "sufficiently meaningful to satisfy its obligation."

Henkin said Mollway's ruling is clear.

"What the judge said is that the Army needs to provide accurate information about what we stand to lose if the Army were to resume live-fire training at Makua," he said.

Malama Makua said the ruling on a sub-surface survey and a study on whether military training in Makua poisoned ocean life off shore means the Army's environmental impact statement released last year must be redone and re-submitted for public hearings.

The Army said it will "abide by the court's order and carry on its responsibility to serve as a good steward of the natural environment."

"The history of live-fire training at Makua is cultural sites destroyed and endangered species burned up. And that, frankly, is not my definition of being a good steward," Henkin said.

Both sides do agree on one thing: additional surveys and studies of Makua valley will take months to complete.

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