WEST MAUI - Joined by a delegation of Maui lawmakers and community groups, Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Friday morning signed into law House Bill 1424, which authorizes the Department of Land and Natural Resources to use an appropriation of $20 million for the purchase and acquisition of land parcels at Lipoa Point.
The measure also calls for utilizing proceeds from the sale to capitalize the pension plan of retirees of the land's seller, Maui Land and Pineapple Co. Inc.
House Speaker Joseph M. Souki (Kahakuloa, Waihee, Waiehu, Puuohala, Wailuku, Kahului) said, "The signing of this bill marks an important day for the residents of West Maui and all the people of Maui. Through the hard work and collaborative efforts of several organizations, we are able to preserve, protect and pass on a valuable Maui asset to future generations.
According to the state, the acquisition of land at Lipoa Point will ensure the preservation and conservation of the area’s pristine condition for the community and the people of West Maui for generations to come.
"I would like to especially recognize my colleague, Representative Angus McKelvey, for introducing the bill to preserve Honolua Bay and for successfully shepherding it through the legislature."
Rep. McKelvey (West Maui, Maalaea, North Kihei) said, "This measure speaks to the power of unity and diversity, and what amazing things can happen when people get involved with the process. During the committee hearings, members received countless e-mails, phone calls and letters from people of all walks of life and all islands speaking in one voice.
"This measure brought the environmental community, labor, business and other groups - who have been traditionally diametrically opposed on pieces of legislation - to come together as one for this important cause."
"What a momentous day! This is an excellent example of what can be accomplished when the community comes together," said Sen. Rosalyn Baker (South and West Maui).
"Of course, signing the bill into law is just the first step of the journey. Much work lies ahead. We must continue working together to develop a comprehensive, sustainable plan to ensure that the bay and surrounding lands are protected and enhanced for the benefit of all now and into the future."
Maui House legislators participating in the public signing ceremony included Souki and Representatives McKelvey, Mele Carroll, Kaniela Ing and Justin Woodson.
Other measures signed into law Friday include:
Senate Bill 498, which appropriates $600,000 for the establishment of a Maalaea-based special emergency medical response vehicle unit to service Maui on a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week basis. This will supplement the two ambulances already servicing Maui and, according to the state, will directly impact the health of Maui residents for the better.
SB1412 requires the Department of Land and Natural Resources to accommodate Native Hawaiian canoes for cultural and education purposes at small boat harbors across the state.
And HB1328 will increase the Kahoolawe Island Reserve Commission's purchasing flexibility by making permanent the exemption for the procurement of food or fuel products.