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State briefs for September 26

Company seeks 30-year lease to divert state water

WAILUKU, Maui — A Honolulu real estate firm is seeking a 30-year lease to divert water from Maui streams on state land after years of relying on temporary permits.

Alexander & Baldwin and subsidiary East Maui Irrigation Co. requested the long-term lease from the state Board of Land and Natural Resources.

The lease would allow East Maui Irrigation to enter state-owned land to maintain and repair existing access roads and trails in its system, while also enabling the company to deliver water to domestic and agricultural users including the Nahiku community, Kula Agricultural Park and sugar cane land owned by Mahi Pono.

Mahi Pono is a co-owner of East Maui Irrigation. The 30-year lease is needed to help Mahi Pono obtain financing for its farming operations, Alexander & Baldwin said in a draft environmental impact statement released Monday.

Alexander & Baldwin and East Maui Irrigation applied for a long-term water lease in 2001 that was challenged by Na Moku Aupuni O Koolau Hui, a group of East Maui farmers, fishermen, hunters, and other traditional practitioners. The group’s attorney declined to comment before reviewing the statement.

The requested lease length is a “huge problem,” said Sierra Club of Hawaii attorney David Frankel, citing climate change and a lack of scientific information and analysis in various areas.

2 euthanized dolphins showed signs of illness

HONOLULU — Wildlife officials say two dolphins found stranded on a beach on Maui were emaciated and breathing heavily.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s regional stranding coordinator David Schofield said Tuesday that the two animals also had critically low levels of an enzyme, indicating inflammation, illness or poor nutrition.

He says the veterinarians who examined the animals determined the most humane thing to do would be to euthanize them.

Both dolphins were pygmy killer whales, a species of deep-ocean dolphins often confused with false killer whales and melon-headed whales.

They were among a group of six pygmy killer whales officials were monitoring off Maui for the past 10 days. The other four are still near the Sugar Beach area of Kihei, Maui.

Same-sex couple from Japan get married in Guam

HAGATNA, Guam — A same-sex couple from Japan had their wedding in Guam, the first U.S. territory to recognize same-sex marriage.

Tsuyoshi Kumagai and Robert Francis Yocum have been in a relationship 20 years. Their wedding was on Wednesday.

This is thought to be the first same-sex couple from Japan to get married on Guam, said Sumie Kuba, president and general manager for Micronesia Assistance Inc. Same-sex marriage is not recognized in Japan, Kuba said.

Guam Lt. Gov. Josh Tenorio, the first openly gay lieutenant governor in the nation, officiated, officials said.

Guam’s attraction as a wedding destination for members of the LGBTQ communities in the region is growing, Kuba said.

Since recognizing same-sex marriage four years ago, Guam has seen 362 marriages between June 2015 and March this year, officials said.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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