A&B announces cane burning will end this year

A&B has announced they will close down their sugar operation before the end of the year and move to diversified agriculture.  This means thousands of residents impacted by their pollution will breathe easier. 

STOP CANE BURNING STATEMENT ON SUGAR CLOSURE

With the announcement that A&B will be closing sugar operations before the end of 2016 due to a 2015 loss of $30 million on their agricultural operations, Stop Cane Burning founder Karen Chun had the following statement.

“We are happy that A&B now plans to adopt the substance of our settlement offer regarding the end of cane burning on Maui. However, we demand that A&B make $30 million available for worker retraining and education and not just vaguely worded aspirational platitudes about supporting workers.”

Chun added, “With 675 workers, they could give each worker $44,000 for educational and living expenses while they find new jobs.”

When asked whether the lawsuit to invalidate the cane permit would go forward, Chun said, “Yes. We were unable to come to a court enforceable agreement during settlement discussions. Without that, A&B can always reverse course. Only a court order can fully protect the public’s right to clean air.”

Chun added, “I am confident that Judge Cardoza will give us a preliminary injunction to stop burning since that will actually save A&B money now that they’ve admitted that their operations lose money.”

Co-plaintiff Brad Edwards added that pesticide overspray has been a serious problem with A&B’s sugar operations with five homes in Paia being contaminated with a mixture of Dicamba, Diruron, 2,4-D, Pendimethanlin, Ametryn, and Hexazinone.

“We earnestly hope that A&B will be more responsible with pesticides in their diversified agriculture,” said Edwards.

Stop Cane Burning member, Deb Mader called on the public to participate in zoning and planning meetings. According to Mader, “We need to hold A&B to its promise of keeping 36,000 acres as diversified Ag land. We have the opportunity to now greatly improve the health of people and precious resources.”

Plaintiff Trinette Furtado added, “This is welcome news. Clean air is a human right and we are happy that our residents will no longer have their health impacted by A&B’s air pollution. Further, while I applaud the thoughtful actions of A&B and their subsidiary HC&S in making this decision, I hope that not only will they supply employees that will be out of work with a healthy and comprehensive severance package, but also look into shared and partnership opportunities with small restorative/regenerative farmers and farming operations to provide a variety of opportunities for our communities.”

More information on Stop Cane Burning and the lawsuit can be found at StopCaneBurning.org.

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