Big Island community wins battle with Marines over Upolu Airport - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Big Island community wins battle with Marines over Upolu Airport

(Image: Ronnie Slaven) (Image: Ronnie Slaven)
KONA, HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The U.S. Marine Corps will drastically cut down operations at the Upolu Airport in Hawi as part of an agreement to limit the disruption of native sites and animals in North Hawaii.

Hawi residents say they've been complaining for years that flight operations were unreasonably noisy, in addition to their impact on wildlife in the area. 

The environmental non-profit EarthJustice says the Marine Corps has agreed to conduct just 25 operations per year at the facility, compared to the 800 Osprey flights that were flown between January and March of 2017 alone.

"The law requires the Marines to be honest with the public about what they plan to do and how big an impact their training activities will have on the community and the environment," explained Earthjustice attorney David Henkin "The law doesn't let them then ramp up those activities by more than a hundred times, blasting the community with noise." 

Attorneys say a 2012 environmental impact statement conducted by the military stated that the Osprey aircraft make "infrequent" use of the facility, but that the Marine Corps have "dramatically" increased those flights in recent years.

"It is, unfortunately, rare for a government agency to acknowledge that it needs to correct its mistakes and to make the necessary changes voluntarily," said Earthjustice's Henkin.  "We applaud the Marines for doing the right thing."

Copyright 2017 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved. 

Powered by Frankly