Maui News

Rep. Ing: ‘The Writing Was On the Wall’

January 6, 2016, 2:47 PM HST
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Rep. Kaniela Ing.

Rep. Kaniela Ing.

Rep. Kaniela Ing, who introduced a plan to transition away from cane burning without job loss during the 2016 legislative session, commented on today’s announcement about A&B. His South Maui constituents have been the most vocal regarding cane burning.

“As A&B plots its future, the people of Maui should understand that it is plotting ours, too,” Rep. Ing stated in a press release. “We should see this as a call to end ongoing divides, decide what’s next and form new unity on our island home.

Regarding what’s next, Ing said, “Sugar cane is beautiful and it’s part of what makes Maui so unique. As a born-and-raised product of our planation history, I love the sugar cane vista as much as anyone. But imagine a diversified island with sunflowers for energy, kalo for food and hemp for a variety of uses. A&B could lease out plots to a new generation of farmers for regenerative and organic crops. The possibilities are exciting. The silver lining is that we can start from a fresh slate, form new unity and plot an agricultural future that we can all be proud of.

Regarding jobs, Rep Ing said, “I am very concerned about the massive lay-offs that A&B announced. My upcoming bill would have allowed this transition to happen without job loss, but this decision occurred before the 2016 legislative session even got off the ground. This is what I was afraid of all along, and the reason why I have been urging the employee union (ILWU) and the anti-cane burning community to come together and help plan for what’s next, rather than fighting over burn permits. If you look at the past few quarterly reports, sugar made no financial sense, and the writing was on the wall. Now more than ever, the community really needs to get behind ILWU.”

Looking forward, Rep. Ing said, he will be crafting a transition plan for industry employees during the upcoming legislative session, including the legalization of hemp and converting the state’s ethanol tax credit to biofuels.

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A&B/HC&S to Transition Out of Sugar Production

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