Lawmakers, environmentalists disturbed by previous molasses leak - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Lawmakers, environmentalists disturbed by previous molasses leaks

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Officials from Matson and the state have faced countless questions since the molasses spill in Honolulu Harbor about the faulty pipeline's past. Now there are new concerns prompted by the news that two leaks had been previously detected.

Rep. Chris Lee took part in a tour of the harbor with Matson and Department of Transportation leaders on Monday. He said he is frustrated by the latest revelations.

"It's clear there was notice well in advance that there could have been a problem and yet it still happened. I think we need to figure out exactly what the fault was, what the breakdown was in communication and make sure it doesn't happen again," said Lee (D-Kailua, Lanikai, Waimanalo).

Environmentalists are disturbed by the latest developments.

"They were put on notice that they had a problem. They had a responsibility to us, the people of Hawaii to keep on top of it and to keep inspecting and making sure that pipeline would be safe for use," said David Henkin of Earthjustice.

DOT officials said they're looking at ways of tightening up the rules included in future lease agreements with harbor users. In the meantime, a letter will be sent to pipeline tenants.

"The letter will require them to have an inspection plan to properly test and inspect pipelines and related facilities, also to maintain a spill response plan for all regulated and non-regulated products," said Randy Grune of the Department of Transportation.

The DOT wants a written response from pipeline tenants by next month, indicating the date of the last inspection, the findings, and the status of any corrections. Meetings with harbor users will also be held to make sure there are response plans in place for all cargo.

As new details about the spill surface, some people are wondering if there are other important details being left out.

"People make mistakes, accidents happen, but I think people need to own up to that and I think covering things up or doing anything like that is not the way to go," said Lee.

State lawmakers plan to hold hearings about the spill in the next few weeks.

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