10 • 01 • 2019

Last Chance for Maui to Settle and Protect the Clean Water Act

By Mara Dias

August and September have been a flurry of grassroots activity all aimed at convincing the County of Maui to settle the Lahaina Injection Wells Lawsuit. This lawsuit was filed by the Surfrider Foundation, EarthJustice and our coalition partners to compel Maui County to stop polluting the ocean with discharges of partially treated sewage. Although the courts have agreed with us twice now, Maui County appealed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, threatening Clean Water Act protections nationwide.

On Maui, hundreds of people, including local students, have submitted testimony and filled the County Council chamber during public sessions when this issue has been discussed and debated. These community voices were joined by over 16,000 people nationwide who signed petitions to Maui County to fix the pollution problems and stop litigating for the right to pollute.

Take action and ask Maui Mayor Victorino to listen to the County Council, hundreds of community members, students and coastal defenders by signing this action alert

As the result of many community members raising their voices in opposition, the Maui County Council voted on September 20, 2019 to withdraw their appeal and instead work with the local community to find sustainable, long-term solutions to protect Maui’s reefs and valuable freshwater resources. Learn more about the Council decision here.

This case, however, is about more than protecting water quality and the coral reef ecosystem at Kahekili Beach Park where the injected wastewater ends up in the Pacific Ocean. It’s about more than protecting the nearby Hawaii Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. This case is at its core, about defending the Clean Water Act and its ability to protect our waterways from pollution, regardless of where you live across the United States. 

But we’re not at the finish line yet.

You can help us seal the deal by sending an email to Maui County Mayor Victorino to ask him to respect the decision of the County Council and the will of the people to withdraw the County of Maui’s appeal and complete the settlement process:  Send your email here

If you live on Maui, join Surfrider Maui and their coalition partners, Sierra Club Maui Group and Hawaii Wildlife Fund, this coming Saturday, October 5th for a Mahalo Paddle Out in Lahaina. We will be celebrating our success so far and to remember why we started this fight for clean water in the first place. This event will be held approximately one mile south of the site where injected wastewater enters the Pacific Ocean at Kahekili Beach. Grab your board and join us out on the water! 

  • 8:30 Meet at the beach in front of Whalers Village Shopping Center in Kaanapali
  • 9:00 Mahalo Paddle Out
  • 10:30 Thank you reception and pupus provided at Hula Grill

Parking can be tight so remember to carpool.

Stay in touch with the Maui Chapter on this event and other local happenings through their Facebook page

photo credit: Damian Antioco