Myth: Burning cane is “cultural”


Burning of cane was typically associated with protests by workers at the turn of the 20th century. Cane in pre-haole Hawaii was not burned and burning was not used in a widespread way until the 1920s. The assertion that cane-burning is “cultural” is false. Burning as a harvest method was started by the same companies (like A&B) who overthrew Queen Liliu’okalani.

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Myth: Jobs will be lost


Rick Volner has said that A&B is committed to keeping its 36,000 acres in agriculture and transitioning to another crop after sugar. In 2009 they lost money on their sugar operations and said they’d shut down. And now sugar isn’t profitable and they are saying it again. For 44 years A&B has dragged its feet in converting to a more profitable crop. The cane smoke lawsuit is just the nudge they need to actually take action on their stated objective of moving to another more profitable crop.

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Cane smoke chokes Kihei school and prompts investigation


The May 27, 2015 HC&S burn was so bad that at least one child was hospitalized and visibility was severely limited. Children were kept home from school and those who attended were filmed covering their faces with their clothing and coughing. HC&S subsequently filed their burn report claiming there was no smoke at ground level.

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Report Smoke and Ash by filling out this form

Either put in an address and press “Locate”
Press “Locate Me” if you want the system to guess the address (sometimes doesn’t work)

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Cane smoke is responsible for highway crashes

kuihelaniHwyNoon 2013-07-13

On June 11, 2014, A&B burned near Kuihelani Hwy. According to one of the crash victims, “We were immediately engulfed in smoke and it was impossible to see even 2 feet in front of us. With the smoke so thick and completely covering the road, there was no way for cars to see or drive safely. We were hit from behind and we heard another crash in the thick of the smoke.”

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Myth #2: If cane isn’t grown, the land will be dry and dusty.

Fugitive Dust generated from HC&S cane field tilling 8/31/2012

We always get a laugh out of this one as A&B’s terrible agricultural practices and the way their tilling blows dust onto the reefs and obscures Haleakala are the subject of concern that ranks higher with the EPA than does their burning. Check out the area by Ma’alaea which used to be cane and is now fallow. See any dust? Nope. No dust.

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“Minimization” doesn’t work


Despite what HC&S says are its best efforts, most every smoke plume eventually collapses over a population center. Ma’alaea and North Kihei are particularly hard hit. The Department of Health continues to allow burns and tell us that HC&S met their standard of “miminization”. Minimization is a vague word that means nothing and most certainly does not mean that no smoke dropped down on our towns. Meanwhile many of us watch our loved ones as they struggle to breathe from a smoke-induced asthma attack.

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