Matson reaches $15.4M settlement with state over 2013 molasses spill in Honolulu Harbor

Matson reaches $15.4M settlement with state over 2013 molasses spill in Honolulu Harbor

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - After years of back and forth negotiations, a settlement has been reached in what's been called one of the biggest environmental disasters in state history.

Matson has agreed to pay more than $15 million for the massive molasses spill of 2013 that devastated Honolulu Harbor.

Hundreds of thousands of gallons of molasses spilled into the harbor and the results of it were unprecedented.

But now an agreement has been made to start rebuilding.

Matson has agreed to pay $15.4 million to the state of Hawaii.

"This has been a terrible chapter for the entire community as well as for a long-time business member in the state," said Attorney General Doug Chin.

"It sends a message that Hawaii is going to take environmental crimes, environmental incidences very, very seriously," Chin said.

It's a two-part package.

Wednesday's settlement announcement includes $5.9 million of the total will be used to reimburse the state for expenses, contribute to a huge conservation event in Hawaii next year, and re-growing a coral nursery. The new coral nursery will help replace the coral that was damaged as a result of the spill.

The rest of the sum will be used for removing the molasses tank farm and safely disposing any of the molasses that is left.

"With this agreement, Matson to our understanding, has agreed to end its operations for molasses in the state of Hawaii,' said Chin.

"That will ensure to our minds that no molasses ever harms this harbor again and causes the damage that it did," he said.

Two years ago, 233,000 gallons of molasses spilled into the harbor. Twenty-four hours after the massive spill, dead fish started popping up near Keehi Lagoon.  Coral was destroyed and more than 26,000 fish were killed.

Chin says the multi-million dollar settlement is a huge step to repairing the damage that was done.

Chin says the reimbursement money will not go into the general fund, rather a trust fund that will be allocated for the different agencies that were impacted by the disaster.

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