You CAN Beat City Hall
Big news, the Hawaii Supreme Court issued a 54 page unanimous decision overturning each of Hawaii Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Watanabe's 4 judgements in favor of Kauai Department of Water (KDOW). Bottom line, Friends of Maha`ulepu (FOM) and Kia`i Wai o Wai`ale`ale WON BIG!
The five Justices ruled that KDOW "did not provide a candid assessment" (they lied) in the environmental review process. They also ruled that KDOW did not comply with State law, the basis of FOM and Kia`i Wai's original claim to the Circuit Court. In the unanimous decision of the court today, they reversed Judge Watanabe's grant of Summary Judgement against FOM and Kia`i Wai's 10 causes of action. The Justices ruled that "KDOW must issue a new EA", remanding the case to judge Watanabe to consider granting FOM and Kia`i Wai injunctive relief. See Conclusion and quoted references on page 52 of the Supreme Court Decision.
FOM and Kia`i Wai argued that KDOW had not been honest when they told the public the reasons for the new 18 inch main that would be added to an existing 16 inch main taking water from KDOW/Grove Farm's Waiahi surface water treatment plant (SWTP). When the draft EA was released in the Fall of 2017, they claimed the addition of a larger new main was to address a pressure problem in their line. However, after FOM and Kia`i Wai filed the suit to challenge the inadequacy of their EA, FOM and Kia`i Wai found an initial EA on the State website that stated the actual reasons for the new 18 inch main was the need for increased water capacity to service Grove Farm's Lihue Development Master Plan. See KDOW's own statements in the 2016 EA contrasted with the 2017 EA:
Withdrawn 2016 KDOW EA (check out stated purpose for increased capacity to meet Grove Farm's housing development needs)
Provide a description of the proposed action and purpose and need in 200 words or less.
The County of Kaua‘i, Department of Water (DOW) Ka‘paia Cane Haul Road 18-inch Main project proposes 9,000 linear feet of 18-inch waterline along Kapaia Cane Haul Road from Ma’alo Road to Kuhio Highway. The project is needed because the existing transmission facilities along Kuhio Highway from Ma’alo Road to the Lihu‘e area are not adequate to utilize the capacity from the Waiahi surface water treatment plant (SWTP) for the planned affordable housing development of the Lihu’e area..."
2017 KDOW EA published for public comment in Fall of 2017 without reference to the earlier withdrawn EA
The Department of Water, County of Kauai (”KDOW”) proposes to construct an approximately 9,000 foot long, 18-inch diameter water transmission main (”Relief Line”)..."
Claiming later in the EA that the line was needed to relieve pressure. In my opinion Kauai County has one of the most corrupt county governments in the nation.