Environmental Law Program

Jarman Fellowship Colloquia: Environmental Justice in Wai`anae

On April 6, 2010 second year law student and 2009 Jarman fellow, Stewart Yerton and distinguished ELP alumnus Marti Townsend hosted a panel discussion on Environmental Jusitce in Waiʻanae.  The panel included Alice Greenwood, community activist, Walterbea Aldeguer,  life-long Wai‘anae Coast resident, and Kamuela Enos, Education Resource Specialist at Maʻo Farms. 

In a move strongly opposed by some community groups, developers are seeking to build an industrial park on fertile agricultural land in Wai‘anae.  Panel members described project requirements including plans for the City and County of Honolulu to dramatically alter the Wai‘anae Community Sustainability Plan, which now confines industrial uses to lands along Farrington Highway. Wai‘anae has long been used for landfills, military bombing exercises, and other projects that substantially harm the environment.

Panelist and citizens see the industrial park as yet another high-impact project and have called on the City and County to keep all industrial uses focused along the highway, as the current sustainability plan does. But under pressure from the developers, the City and County’s consultant has drafted a new plan featuring a stark purple spot designating industrial use in the middle of a sea of green agricultural land. This “purple-spot plan” is being set forth for approval by the Honolulu City Council.  Panelist as well as Waianae Coast residents, are shocked because this is not what they agreed to in their community sustainability planning process.

As the 2009 Jarman Fellow, Mr. Yerton spent his summer working at KAHEA with Program Director and 2005 WSRSL ELP alum Marti Townsend. KAHEA advocates for the proper stewardship of our resources and for social responsibility by promoting multi-cultural understanding and environmental justice. For more information on environmental justice in Waiʻanae or to learn about KAEHA go to http://www.kahea.org/.