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15 comments

  • Doug

    Thanks for recording and hosting the LiveStream of the event last night. Nice to be able to see it while not being able to attend.

  • I am seeing soot being new to Maui as a resident. I respect the land and culture here. The solution to this problem is to find a replacement for cane in the economy. Then, buy up the land. Problem solved. I am with the Kanaka all the way!

  • Daniela Maldini

    I am experiencing mostly eye problems but bad enough that my vision is blurred and my eyes hurt all the times. Anyone having simnilar issues. I live in S Kihei and my yard is always covered in soot and ashes.

    Daniela

  • h.v.

    Where is a copy of planned Class Action Suit
    We hear is being compiled? Also, if less
    Affluent Countries as Brazil intelligently handle their Cane debris and do not burn PVC pipes for dangerous smoke, why can,t
    Maui? Also, does someone in political power really want residents and tourists to
    Kill off Maui, for moving to other Islands less hazardous? Something does not make
    Common Sense….

  • I’m not sure if you’re aware of it but Oregon for a really long time experienced a similar problem with grass seed producers burning after they harvested the seed. The problem was even worse because the Willamette Valley is located between two mountain ranges, which caused the smoke not to dissipate quickly and also to linger. Here’s a copy of what I sent in to stop the bill,
    “Banning Field Burning
    We should be moving towards improving the quality of our air shed. This bill does the exact opposite.
    Just because this was allowed for years doesn’t make it right or smart. This burning causes health problems, and is a blight on the beauty of the island, that is one of the main reasons tourists come here. Allowing rampant agricultural burning benefits a few at the expense of the majority.
    The Willamette Valley in Oregon is the largest grower of grass seed in the world. For years they said that they had to burn to be economically viable regardless of the pollution they caused. After a severe multi-car accident that killed many people caused by their smoke. The public had had enough and banned burning. Well guess what they’re all still in business.
    Please kill this Bill.
    Thank you for caring”

  • Brant Cali

    I completely agree that the burning is nasty and a huge nuisance. And while big corporations can be very dangerous because of their power and at times ubridled pursuit of profits at the expense of people and the environment, it MAY be more productive to present suggested alternatives to reduce making this just a head butting exercise. Sometimes that becomes necessary but i suspect there are ways this could be handled and understanding the increased cost per pound of product helps focus the argument to a measurable impact and defuses extremist reactions. The easiest change that would cost no more then their current practice would be to start the burning at 10 or 11PM and so the smoke would have moved out by the time morning comes. I know they start in the early morning hours, but why not late evening? That would be simple and cost no more.
    Of course that does not address other problems related to the burning. I am unaware of what noxious, toxic or carcinogenic compounds are present in the smoke, and while the particulates from incomplete combustion bother people, especially folks with any kind of respitory problems. And of course it is ugly and outright offensive in a place so beautiful as Maui. If the smoke isn’t poisenous then changing the time it starts might be a small step in the right direction. If it does contain toxic residues from pesticides then changing the time may not be nearly enough. Another possibility would be to collect the cane as is and remove the waste foliage at the plant and then burn it in the plant’s furnaces using the heat to dive th extraction process. Yes there would be some additional costs(fuel mostly) to haul more material and some costs to strip and prep the cane, but the benefits would be productive utilization of the burning of the waste material to reduce their conventional fuel supplies. Also the material would be burned at muchhigher temperatures which would reduce the polution and by products produced by the current method. Another possibility would be to strip the excess green mater in the field and compost it in to the soil. While the current method does return much of the inorganic materials (ash containing significant amounts of potassium) but the composting would put back morethen just the potassium……it would add carbon, potassium, and some fixed nitrogen back to the soil potentially lessening the need for as much fertalizers. I am sorry i don’t have the time to find more information on these alternatives but i am sure it is out there and i would bet the university would be a resource. Being that i am a doctoral graduate from a land grant program in North Carolina, a lot of good information on exactly these types of issues have been studied. If we as objectors to the offensive burning made sensible arguments on alternatives which might be better for the environment and then quantify the increased cost per pound of product it would be far easier for politicians to quantifiy the effects of imposing changes. I am sure the suger cane crop brings a lot of benefits to the islands andisone of its biggest export commodities. Elliminating that could be damaging to the local economy. And i suspect that the agricultural activities benefits many in containing real estate taxes. If we lessen the agricultural production and place more dependence on the hospitality industry we may be goingfrom the pan to the fire. Development on the islands continues to threaten a resource more critical then the negatives of the smoke from cane burning…..and that is the over use of potable water. And the debate over the limitations of freah water is not understood well enough and if development continues unabated we could easily run the water table down to a point of no return. By the time we realize we were wrong it will be too late to fix, and that could really destroy our most precious resource. Agriculture is important and should be supported, but proper and fair analysis should yield answers that would be accetable to all. Let’s strive for the best comprimise rather than simply make demands thatmay ignore the important benfits of certainindustries.

  • Koa

    Aloha again, I never looked up this issue untill now and I just found this which I found interesting as we also burn coal primarley.

    AIR ISSUES: An Alphabet Soup of Toxins

    (Florida Power and Light Site Certification Application filed December 22, 2006).

    Mercury (Hg) 180 lbs/year: – making it one of the largest emitters of Hg in Florida

    Mercury is a potent neurotoxin. In 2004, EPA indicated that 1 in 6 women of childbearing age have mercury levels in her blood above EPA’s safe health threshold. (Centers for Disease Control, January 2003. Second National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals).

    This places children born to these women, and children under age 12 at risk of developmental disorders from eating fish contaminated with mercury. It may also contribute to heart disease in adults. (Committee on the Toxicological Effects of Methyl mercury. Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology. Commission on Life Sciences. National Research Council. Toxicological Effects of Methyl mercury, 2000. Available at: http://www.nap.edu/books/0309071402/html).

    Florida is under a statewide fish consumption advisory due to mercury. The advisory includes Lake Okeechobee, Fisheating Creek, and the Caloosahatchee River – and includes Largemouth Bass, Bowfin and Bluegill. How much more mercury contamination can the fish in these water bodies absorb without further threatening our health and way of life?

    See: http://www.doh.state.fl.us/floridafishadvice/Fish_consumption_guide.pdf

    EPA states that two-thirds of mercury contamination is from man-made sources – a substantial amount is emitted by coal-fired power plants.
    An enormous percentage of locally emitted mercury pollution from coal power plants contaminates the surrounding locale and region. The Electric Power Research Institute has concluded that, depending on location, 20% to 80% of power plant mercury emissions come from local sources.
    (Levin, L., Electric Power Research Institute, Mercury Science Update, Presentation to the Edison Electric Institute. December 4, 2002)

    There is no “safe” form or amount of mercury in the Everglades, where mercury is readily converted to its methylated form and bioaccumulated. In the open sawgrass marshes methyl mercury magnifies up the food chain to toxic levels in carnivorous species of birds, raccoons and panthers. The lengthy and comprehensive study conducted by the EPA and Florida agencies, concluded that there was a direct correlation between local mercury emissions and local ecosystem mercury contamination. (U.S. EPA, South Florida Ecosystem Assessment: Phase I/II – Everglades Stressor System Interactions: Hydro patterns, Eutrophication, Habitat Alteration and Mercury

  • Koa

    Aloha, I have always wondered about something that has stuck in the back of my mind for quite some time. My close Friend lived in Bel Glades Fl and told me about the Cane that once was burned back in the 80s. It appears that the operation was shut down due to the airborne mercury that became an issue upon the burning of the crops.

    When I asked a different friend who has been hired by HCS on the panel concerning this subject he quickly replyed burning cane has no negative issue and pose no threat to human life form. If airborne mercury was a threat in FL, why would it not be a threat here in Hawaii? When the tests are made by HCS/EPA concerning air quality and airborne contaminants is the information and facts/discoveries being hidden or lost because there is no way in the world that burning PVC in any form can be safe or legal.

    • Stop Cane Burning

      I haven’t heard anything about mercury in the smoke. I suspect that perhaps in Florida they were using nematode poison or another mercury-containing ground treatment? I am not aware of this being used on Maui fields.

  • Gary Saltz

    Hello everyone…..I find all the comments very helpful and alarming as I am planning a move to Maui early next year. Just spent a few weeks on Maui this past June and am now more concerned than ever about the move. Spent most of the time in Upcountry but will will probably live on one of the coasts. Main problem…I live in Phoenix where its hot as blazes and the summer dust haboob storms carry everything bad including Valley Fever which can kill you…I only have one lung! I am 67 and in good health and divorced….Is there a area on Maui that for the 9 months of cane burning is a safe? area or at least little smoke. My doctor says to get out of Phoenix and I love Maui after 61 trips so what do I do?. Any and all advice will be welcome as this is going to be my last move in life.

    • Stop Cane Burning

      You can live in Nahiku, Huelo, Hana or Kipahulu. Downside is that it is a long trip into towns except Hana which is a very small town.

  • deb mader

    Here is a copy of my letter sent to all those listed on your website…
    I beg you all to take action to stop the sugar cane burning here on Maui. This summer has been particularly bad for my family, our neighbors and our friends. We had to move from North Kihei because the ash, soot, and smokey air from the sugar cane burning is making us sick. My 3 year old was rushed to the ER because he could not breathe. We wake up with headaches, runny noses, sore throats, nausea and coughing on days when you wake up smelling that cane smoke. Our lungs feel heavy and sore. The air is not only toxic, but thanks to our lovely trade winds, small bits of chemical and agricultural debris from the cane burning shower our lanai, our furniture, our bathtub, our kitchen. The particles, which include whatever chemicals they put on the cane, fall onto our clothing and even on our plates and cups stored in the cabinet. The cane ash is everywhere. We moved from North Kihei to the top of Maui Meadows in hopes of better air. But the cane smoke still gets up here. I can tell if they have been burning before I get up. Sore throat, heavy lungs, itchy eyes…then I look off my lanai and can see the brown cane smoke floating from N Kihei out towards the harbor, some of which I can see falls into the ocean. It’s no wonder there is so much dead coral along my old beach in N Kihei. The ash seems to be suffocating ocean life.

    Imagine how many more jobs we could have if more tourists came to Maui. I’ve talked to so many visitors who refuse to come during burn season, or got so sick when they were here during a burn that they refuse to return. How many residents have been forced to move off island because of the toxic air from burning the sugarcane? What about the health of the workers in the field? How many have developed cancer or breathing issues? I love living on this island. I love my family, neighbors and friends here. We can harvest sugar without burning it (and all the chemicals, pvc pipes and other debris with it). I beg you to do what’s right and protect the health of those in our community. My husband and I employ 4 part time workers. We plan to have more, if we are not forced to leave this island because of the cane burning. Enough is enough. The movement to end the burning practice is growing, our voices are uniting and we will not rest until we can sleep through the night ash-free. The evidence is clear that burning sugar cane is detrimental to the environment, including ocean and human life. How many lawsuits can the town, county and state handle? What about HC&S? Thanks to technology, us “little people” are taking photos, videos, and documenting the damage from the burning. Doctors are seeing the correlation between respiratory issues and burn days. The facts can no longer be ignored. I ask that you end the practice of issuing permits to burn sugar cane on Maui.
    Mahalo
    DM

  • Keith colombik

    My wife and I lived in Wailea from 1993 until 2001 when we had to move to the mainland due to her health issues. She developed asthma and migranes that were unberable from cane burning. She went to doctors on Maui and even to the Mayo clinic to deal with her quality of life issues, all traced to cane burning. It came down to we had no choice but to move back to the mainland for her health. She has not had to deal with these issues since moving. I was Publisher of the Maui Bulletin and had to quit my job too. I don’t know how the EPA and other agencies allow HC&S to burn cane. It is a shame that people’s proven health issues don’t take precedent over corporate profits. Cane does not need to be burned. Good luck with your petition. Hopefully, others who move to Maui will not have to move away as we did.

  • Brian

    NO CHOKE STOP CANE SMOKE

    KILL SUGAR SUGAR KILLS

    BURN HEMP NOT CANE

    Your JOB is killing me!

    LIBERATE MAUI CANE LAND

  • Osalina

    I moved to the Islands in 1974 and lived in Maui for the most part from 1976 – 1995 and the last 4 and a half years were in Kihei. I also lived in Maui Meadows and Kihei in 1983 when I was pregnant with my daughter Malina. I would be woken up in the middle of the night with cane smoke so bad I could not breathe and even in my last months of pregnancy we would have to leave our home and waddle out to go sleep on the beach as it was in the early morning hours without warning and no way to get a hotel. In the 1990’s after moving back to Kihei, I developed asthma and almost died a number of times. I had to move to the mainland in 1995 and have not been back since, nor have I had asthma. In my opinion, these owners who continue to ignore the pleadings of people who become sick each year and some even die, should be tried for murder and serve life sentences it angers me so much. Also these creeps that tried to blackball you from speaking out are criminals, the impact cane burning had on my life makes me fuming mad every time I think about it. I am a peace loving person and I do pray that some day I will be able to forgive all beings fully including the Hitlers of this world and criminals responsible for the Cane Industry in Hawaii and around the world. These same creeps are also responsible for the destruction of Rain Forest world wide. Although in my heart I know forgiveness is important for everyone, I must admit that I do believe these criminals deserve a special place in Hell for the crimes they have committed against their fellow humans, animals and plants of this earth and until they realize this and make amends for their crimes, they deserve to be in prison for these crimes.