Senate Passes HB2501, Opponents Seek Veto

May 3, 2016, 4:16 PM HST · Updated May 3, 4:16 PM
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Photo courtesy: Sierra Club of Hawaiʻi.

Photo courtesy: Sierra Club of Hawaiʻi.

Today the Hawaiʻi Senate passed House Bill 2501, a bill that allows Alexander & Baldwin to continue previously authorized water diversions for three years or until its pending application for water rights is resolved, whichever comes first.  The bill now heads to Governor Ige who has the option to sign, veto, or allow the bill to become law without his signature.

Opponents to the measure are now calling on the governor to veto the bill.  Marti Townsend, Director for the Sierra Club of Hawaiʻi was among those who spoke out against today’s floor vote, calling it “special legislation.”

Among those who voted in favor of the bill were: Baker, Dela Cruz, Gabbard, Galuteria, Inouye, Keith-Agaran, Kidani, Kouchi, Nishihara, Taniguchi, Tokuda, Wakai.  Those voting for the bill with reservations were: Espero, K. Kahele, Kim, Ruderman, Slom.

Senators voting against the bill included: Chun-Oakland, English, Green, Harimoto, Ihara, Riviere, Shimabukuro, L. Thielen.

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Townsend said the gallery included constituents who stood in silent opposition as they watched Senators debate HB2501. Sign-waving rallies were also held today along the Hāna Highway on Maui, and yesterday in Waiʻanae, Oʻahu.

East Maui residents have reportedly invited Governor Ige to a town hall meeting in their community to discuss the issue of stream restoration.

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