State Must Suspend Burn Permit Until Scientific Method of Calling No-Burn Day is in Effect

For Immediate Release
Contact: Karen Chun, Stop Cane Burning

Date June 4, 2015

State Must Suspend Burn Permit Until Scientific Method of Calling No-Burn Day is in Effect

KIHEI, HI – On May 26, 2015 two people called the Hawaii Department of Health Clean Air Branch to warn them that an inversion layer was predicted for May 27th and that they should call a no-burn day. The state took no action, HC&S burned and Kamali’i Elementary School experienced so much smoke that children were covering their faces and coughing. Some parents elected to keep their children home. At least one student from another school ended up in the hospital.

Over 100 people made formal complaints about the smoke and at least on child was hospitalized with breathing problems. HC&S spokesperson, HIllary Bingham of HC&S denied there was any groundlevel smoke, telling an affected Kihei parent, “Odor is a possibility. From the videos and photos I’ve seen there’s no smoke on the ground at all.”

Karen Chun, of Stop Cane Burning fired back that “HC&S is not being truthful. They are not following the conditions of their permit which requires that they not burn during an inversion layer and trying to cover it up. “Department of Health must take back their job of calling no-burn days since it is obvious that HC&S is unwilling to follow the rules.”

Chun called the current Department no-burn day rules “laughably unscientific.” The rules state that a no-burn day shall be called on days with “widespread haze” determined by “smoky or bluish appearance.”

“In an era of accurate meteorological forecasting, this voodoo methodology looks to be designed to be ineffective.” She is asking the department to use meteorological predictions for inversion layers, vog and wind speed and direction.

“DoH’s no-burn method obviously doesn’t work,” Chun added.

Chun is calling for a suspension of the burn permit until scientific methodology for calling no-burn days is in place. She’s backed by over 1000 members of the Facebook Stop Cane Burning group and over 1,000 petition signers calling for the department to use a scientific method of calling no burn days.

“If we give lung disease to even one more child, that is one too many,” stated Chun. “This is an emergency and the Department of Health has to take action now.”

Video of Kamali’i children covering their faces from smoke:
Voicemail left by HC&S representative Hilary Bingham denying smoke:
Photo of Smoke on May 27th on Pi’ilani Highway:
URL of petition: