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Maui’s “Stop Cane Burning” Settles Smoke Lawsuit

May 17, 2016, 12:04 PM HST (Updated May 17, 2016, 3:31 PM) · 15 Comments
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Photo of Lance Collins, Trinette Furtado, Karen Chun and Brad Edwards. Photo credit: Tina Wildberger

Photo of Lance Collins, Trinette Furtado, Karen Chun and Brad Edwards. Photo credit: Tina Wildberger

Stop Cane Burning‘s lawsuit against the Director of the Department of Health and Alexander & Baldwin, seeking to stop cane burning activities on Maui, has been settled.

The organization reports that the settlement was reached under the direction of Judge Peter Cahill who served as the settlement conference judge.

Alexander and Baldwin issued a statement to Maui Now saying, “We are satisfied with the settlement agreement reached with Stop Cane Burning Maui. While the lawsuit was meritless and the plaintiffs’ post-settlement claims are inaccurate, concluding these legal proceedings allows HC&S to focus on completing our final harvest and on our employees who remain our highest priority. Throughout 2016, we will continue to work actively with DOH to adhere to the state’s burn procedures, which we implement field by field, to minimize the impact to our community.”

The parties reportedly agreed to the following limitations on Alexander & Baldwin‘s remaining planned cane burning activities:

  • No cane planted on leased public lands or old government roads will be burned after June 30th. (This comprises approximately 20% of the land currently permitted for burning)
  • Any other cane burning activities permitted must occur by December 25, 2016. No cane burning will occur after that date.
  • Fields may not be burned less than eight weeks after herbicide has been applied nor may fields be burned less than four weeks after “ripener” has been applied.
  • Other than the limited use of herbicides, no fields will be burned where pesticides have been applied.
  • Fields burned within half a mile of any school, public or private, must be completely and entirely extinguished at least two hours before that school starts.
  • Because DOH’s inspector finishes work at 3:30 pm and never works on Sundays, no cane burning will occur after 3:30 pm or on Sundays.
  • The Department of Health has committed to following state law and will require future burning activities on public lands to assess the environmental impacts according to law.

Also under the settlement, Karen Chun agreed to waive her right to sue A&B for claims of “over-spraying her house” and allegedly “exposing her and her family to restricted-use type and other herbicides.” The other individual plaintiffs also agreed to not sue A&B for claims of health damages suffered as a result of cane smoke inhalation or exposure to pesticides.”

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