Maui News

Lawsuit Filed Over Extension of Maui Lani Grading Permit

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Foreground images: Clare Apana (left) and Kaniloa Kamaunu (right), PC by Wendy Osher. Background image: courtesy Iwi Protectors

The Hawaiian group, Mālama Kakanilua, has filed a lawsuit in Maui’s Environmental Court against the Director of the Department of Public Works for extending a grading permit for Maui Lani Partners’ sand mining operations. The lawsuit also names the County of Maui and Maui Lani Partners as defendants.

The group, which includes members Clare Apana and Kaniloa Kamaunu says the county renewed the permit for one year  for “unspecified good cause” and without review or concurrence from the State Historic Preservation Division.

The extension was granted days after the court issued an injunction severely restricting Maui Lani Partners’ ability to continue its sand mining operation.


Apana, a cultural practitioner and founding member of Mālama Kakanilua said, “We have been asking the County to review the permits so it was a complete surprise that they granted a year extension after the injunction was issued and only a few days after receiving the request by the developer.”

Mālama Kakanilua was formed to protect ‘iwi, burials, and other historic and archaeologically significant sites in Maui.  The group is named for Kakanilua, a famous battle that occurred in the sand hills of Central Maui.

County communications Director Rod Antone responded to Maui Now’s request for comment saying the county was “not going to comment on pending litigation.”


The County Council recently adopted an ordinance which put a moratorium on sand mining while the County’s sand resources are studied and inventoried, but exempting those holding a valid grading permit as of the date of the ordinance’s adoption.

According to Mālama Kakanilua, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs recently sent a letter to the County “strongly condemning” the permit renewal without addressing the previous lawsuit, the injunction or SHPD comments.


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