Press Release: Caneburning Smoke Lawsuit Settled


Stop Cane Burning’s lawsuit against the Director of the Department of Health and Alexander & Baldwin, seeking to stop cane burning activities on Maui, has been settled. Under the direction of Judge Peter Cahill as settlement conference judge, the parties agreed to the following limitations on Alexander & Baldwin’s remaining planned cane burning activities:

– No cane planted on leased public lands or old government roads will be burned after June 30th. (This comprises approximately 20% of the land currently permitted for burning)

– Any other cane burning activities permitted must occur by December 25, 2016. No cane burning will occur after that date.

– Fields may not be burned less than eight weeks after herbicide has been applied nor may fields be burned less than four weeks after “ripener” has been applied.

– Other than the limited use of herbicides, no fields will be burned where pesticides have been applied.

– Fields burned within half a mile of any school, public or private, must be completely and entirely extinguished at least two hours before that school starts.

– Because DOH’s inspector finishes work at 3:30 pm and never works on Sundays, no cane burning will occur after 3:30 pm or on Sundays.

– The Department of Health has committed to following state law and will require future burning activities on public lands to assess the environmental impacts according to law.

Karen Chun agreed to waive her right to sue A&B for over-spraying her house and exposing her and her family to restricted-use type and other herbicides. The other individual plaintiffs also agreed to not sue A&B for health damages suffered as a result of cane smoke inhalation or exposure to pesticides.

“The more we investigated A&B’s operations, the more we realized that in addition to smoke, their pesticide application processes posed a huge risk to public health,” said Brad Edwards, one of the three plaintiffs. “We are glad that this agreement addresses these issues somewhat but urge that the public to contact A&B and the helicopter company to ask them to stop spraying glyphosate immediately.” He added that glyphosate was recently listed as a probable human carcinogen by the State of California.

“A&B is able to bend the entire political system to its will whether its stealing water, exposing the community to pesticides or choking us with smoke. It was clear that A&B and DOH were likely to use procedural delays to avoid any limitations to this harvest season, pushing off any resolution of the case by the court into 2017. And even at that, A&B has demonstrated recently with HB 2501 that an unfavorable court ruling will not stop them. Getting enforceable limitations on the current season and an agreement to end cane burning forever seemed to be a better option than a favorable decision on the legal principles after potentially years of appeals,” said Plaintiff Trinette Furtado.

“The over 2,000 members of Stop Cane Burning had the courage to stand up to one of the Big Five companies. And we are thankful that we finally have a definite end date to burning and additional restrictions on the burns. While A&B has spent millions of dollars fighting this lawsuit, our members raised, on average, $20 per member to cover court costs and expenses. We would also like to thank our attorney Lance Collins who agreed to take the case without compensation. It is only when we work together that the community can protect our health and welfare against the greed and big money influence of corporations like A&B,” Karen Chun said.

Photo of Lance Collins, Trinette Furtado, Karen Chun and Brad Edwards
(credit: Tina Wildberger)


  • Stanford Lynx

    Thank you for your diligent efforts, these corporations hurt us in so many ways, with their smoke and their spills and their chemical contaminations, et cetera; all because of greed, profits, $dollars$, power. We need to continue to counter these various harmful schemes; smoke here, pipelines there, stand up for human values and common sense. Corporate profits cannot be allowed to push their unsafe agendas and harmful practices on the public, these unsafe practices must be done away with when possible, otherwise controlled and contained so as not to allow harmful to the public practices to continue unabated. Thanks for getting the word out there, for letting us know the situation on the islands when we’re far away, we can appreciate your efforts and be supportive from here.

  • Frank Russo

    I would like to know what chemicals they will be spraying on their next agricultural endeavor. I live in Maalaea and I did not retire here to get cancer from exposure to agrobusiness crap not being properly regulated! Thanks for your hard work stopping these greedy companies and rich families on Maui.

    • Stop Cane Burning

      One hopes that the next ag operation will not spray these chemicals that HC&S sprays (and oversprays neighboring homes)

      These chemicals have been tested and found to be present in nearby homes by the Dept of Ag – who has done NOTHING.

      As we conducted the Stop Cane Burning campaign, we discovered that although cane smoke is terribly damaging to health, the chemicals that HC&S is using could be an even bigger danger to health.

      So yes. I too hope that the end of cane will REDUCE this chemical spraying.

      Karen Chun

  • DannoBoy

    IRT – “A&B is able to bend the entire political system to its will whether its stealing water, exposing the community to pesticides or choking us with smoke.”

    In exchange for campaign money, Roz Baker has been a dependable A&B crony and supporter of the multinational Agrochemical corporations that threaten public health on Maui. She has used her influence to bend the system to enrich these shadow constituents.

  • Kenneth Loewy

    Great work!
    Congratulations and thanks to Attorney Lance Collins for his support.

  • Kachina Palencia

    Big Mahalo

  • Barry Hirsch

    Good work, thank you!