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Kahele introduces legislation to return 782 acres of Makua Valley back to the state

On the heels of the military’s retreat on the Red Hill fuel tanks, U.S. Rep Kai Kahele introduced legislation to return 782 acres of land in Makua to the state.
Published: Mar. 17, 2022 at 5:21 PM HST|Updated: Mar. 17, 2022 at 6:21 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - On the heels of the military’s retreat on the Red Hill fuel tanks, U.S. Rep Kai Kahele has introduced legislation to return 782 acres of land in Makua to the state.

“This legislation is a step towards righting the decades worth of wrongs committed against native Hawaiians and Hawaii’s environment,” said Kahele during a news conference Thursday.

The Army has trained on 4,000 acres in Makua and nearby areas since World War II, but hasn’t conducted live fire exercises there in nearly two decades.

And some areas have leases expiring soon.

“The United States military does not need this land. They do not need Makua — just like they do not need Red Hill,” said Kahele.

The bill requires the military to study how much it would cost to clean up the land and remove unexploded ordnance. It also directs the military to work with Native Hawaiian groups to lift restrictions to access.

“The fences that say ‘kapu’ or ‘keep out’ — very offensive, very violent and it creates all this anger because we’re losing connection to the aina,” said Sparky Rodrigues, co-founder of Malama Makua, which has sued the Army over its use of Makua.

Area lawmakers and residents said they also want to see a commission set up to oversee the restoration of Makua for public use.

“So no development, no hotels, no golf courses, no tourists. This is a special place for us to heal, learn and move forward,” said Rodrigues.

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