Local Connection: Molasses Spill

By: Rick Blangiardi

Honolulu Harbor is starting to clear up but what is unclear is the long-lasting effects of a 233,000-gallon molasses spill at Keehi Lagoon.

There has been damage to coral reefs and the spill caused the death of 26,000 fish. Boating and jet skiing activities were curtailed and people were asked to stay out of the water. Major questions remain: What will become of the floor bed, where the molasses has settled? Where will all the molasses go that has been stored up in Maui? Is the slowly dwindling sugar industry in Hawaii finished?

There are remaining questions for Matson Navigation Company and the State.

Why did Matson not have a safety plan in place for the leak and why did the Department of Transportation never inspect the pipe that transports the molasses to Matson ships?

Although Matson will rightfully pay the costs to clean up the mess, what will become of the damaged reefs that could take thousands of years to recover?

Once again we are reminded that we live in a fragile environment where anything can and does happen.

But let's make sure that this disaster has some lessons learned attached to it. If future leaks can occur, let's do the best we can to mitigate them.