Lanai, An Endangered Hawaiian Island

The island of Lanai, one of Maui County’s treasures, has breathtaking natural beauty, lavish resorts and a crown jewel – the last intact plantation town in the country, centered around a spacious central park. In 2009, Lanai City was listed as one of the 11 most Endangered Historic Places in America.

All of this is at risk, and the threat is two-fold: Castle & Cooke has recently applied for the demolition of 15 to 20 historic buildings in Lanai City to make way for large-scale commercial development. Rather than preserving the historic buildings and incorporating them into a development plan, they hope to erase them altogether.

The second threat is that Castle & Cooke intends to dynamite and bulldoze one-fourth of the island to make way for a mega industrial wind turbine power plant. Although the ILWU has recently paid for signs that say “Yes Windmills. Make Lanai Green,” all energy produced will be taken from Lanai and transferred via cable to Oahu. The turbines do not reduce carbon emissions or significantly reduce oil dependence, according to European government studies after years of research and compiled data. A fragile ecosystem that supports the whale sanctuary, endangered plants and animals, as well as hundreds of significant Hawaiian archeological sites, will be gone forever. These things seems to be of no value to corporations whose fiduciary duty is to stock their holders and nothing else. The value is to the people who live here in Hawaii, and who will have to live with the consequences. Long after the wind turbines have rusted away, after subsidiaries have dried up (as in Europe), the people of Lanai, Maui County and Hawaii will be left with a scarred landscape and a lost cultural heritage that can never be restored.

Let your senators, representatives and councilmen know how you feel. There is a video that you might want to watch. Its impact on you will be more than my words. Go to windaction.or/videos/31669.

Susan Osako
Lanai City


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