By MARINA STARLEAF RIKER
HONOLULU (AP) - Around 100 protesters gathered outside Alexander & Baldwin's offices to rally against a bill that would allow companies to continue diverting water from Maui streams.
Opponents at the rally Tuesday say the debate over Maui's water rights started over a century ago when plantations started diverting water from lush east Maui to irrigate arid sugar cane land.
The bill was introduced after a Hawaii judge found that Alexander & Baldwin's water diversion permits were invalid. The company owns the state's last-remaining sugar plantation, which is set to close at the end of this year.
Alexander & Baldwin is Hawaii's fourth-largest private land owner. The company has been growing sugar for over 140 years, but it plans to shift gears and pursue diversified agriculture for its 36,000-acre plantation on Maui.