LETTER: A&B Covertly Plans to Turn Maui into Oahu

May 2, 2014, 10:48 AM HST · Updated May 9, 4:07 PM

By Amanda Candēns, Honolulu (formerly from Maui)

Sugar cane burn_march 20_2012-black-plume

Central Maui, with a burning cane field. File photo by Allison Sickle.

One single corporation controls Maui.

They control the land, water, infrastructure construction and (arguably) the local government. A&B (Alexander and Baldwin) owns Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company (HC&S), East Maui Irrigation (EMI), A&B Properties, Inc. and Grace Pacific. (They also previously owned Matson until they split in June of 2012.)

HC&S controls 36,000 acres of sugar cane, burning roughly 400 acres per week of cane, herbicides and plastic irrigation materials. Their factory equipment does not meet federal emissions standards and produces unsafe levels of sulfur dioxide.

EMI controls the ditch system for the cane fields, diverting over 200 million gallons of water a day from over 100 stream channels. Even after the Supreme Court ruled to restore stream flow, it took the local government years to enforce the ruling. This compliance only happened after heavy media exposure by the Hawaiian based activist group, Nā Wai ʻEhā and through the support of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA). (A&B also sprays pesticides in the irrigation ditches to control weeds, so lets hope the waterfall you’re playing under isn’t overflow from one of their stream diversions that got sprayed.)


A&B Properties, Inc. owns 88,000 acres of property and operates and manages 5 million square feet of commercial spaces throughout Hawaiʻi.

Grace Pacific is one of Hawaii’s largest natural materials and infrastructure construction companies, and is the largest asphalt paving contractor in Hawai’i. Where does Grace Pacific get its materials? By digging up massive holes in the land (Google images for Makakilo Quarry). A&B bought Grace Pacific one year after they split from Matson, which means their eyes are clearly on development.

If you are concerned about Maui becoming the next O’ahu, A&B is the company leading the way towards that future. When it comes to development, A&B have the power and money to develop all over Maui and they already have plans to do so. (Their revenue for 2013 was $365.2 million; real-estate generating the most profitable division.)

A&B is excellent at distracting the residents from seeing their game plan. They tout what they term “corporate responsibility,” where they make generous donations to various groups and educational institutions in the community, to “commit to the ethical management and operation of their company.” Historical data proves otherwise. I’m not buying a piece of that monopoly pie. They are buying people off so people will keep their mouths shut because they donated to them.

If you took the time to read this, thank you. I wish more people knew the power, corruption and environmental destruction connected to A&B. Don’t just take my word for it, start digging for yourself. You’ll be surprised at what you find.

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