Conference Committee Meets on Maui Water Rights Bill

April 21, 2016, 6:15 AM HST · Updated April 21, 6:17 AM
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Kopiliula Stream Bridge. Photo credit: Hawaiʻi DOT, Highways Division.

Kopiliula Stream Bridge. File photo credit: Hawaiʻi DOT, Highways Division.

House conference members opened discussion on the Maui water rights bill on Wednesday, by proposing the conference committee uses the House version of the measure to resolve differences between the two drafts of the bill. Senate conferees took the recommendation under advisement and the committee will reconvene this afternoon (Thursday, April 21, 2016 at 2 p.m.) to discuss the measure further.

The negotiations continue as Alexander and Baldwin announced yesterday plans for the permanent release of water in seven East Maui streams.  While lawmakers praised the release, the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation called the announcement a staged event and vowed to fight for the return of water to all streams that flow across ceded lands that are diverted for commercial enterprise.

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Legislators say House Draft 2 of House Bill 2501 would be starting point of negotiations.

Senate members include: senators Mike Gabbard (Kapolei, Makakilo, portions of ʻEwa, Kalaeloa, Waipahu), chair; Jill Tokuda (Kaneʻohe, Kaneʻohe MCAB, Kailua, Heʻeia, ʻĀhuimanu), co-chair; Donovan Dela Cruz (Mililani Mauka, Waipio Acres, Wheeler, Wahiawa, Whitmore Village, portion of Poamoho); and Sam Slom (Hawaiʻi Kai, Kuliʻouʻou, Niu, ʻĀina Haina, Waiʻalae-Kahala, Diamond Head).

House members include: representatives Ryan I. Yamane (Mililani, Waipiʻo Gentry, Waikele), co-chair; Karl Rhoads (Kalihi, Palama, Iwilei, Chinatown), co-chair; Sylvia Luke (Makiki, Punchbowl, Nuʻuanu, Dowsett Highlands, Pacific Heights, Pauoa), co-chair; Ty J.K. Cullen (Royal Kunia, Village Park, Waipahu, Makakilo, West Loch); and Feki Pouha (Waialua, Haleʻiwa, Pūpūkea, Kahuku, Lāʻie, Hauʻula, Waiahole, Waikane, Sunset Beach, Punalāʻu, Kaʻaʻawa).

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