Photo by Elizabeth Miles
MOLASSES KILL: Dead fish picked up on the beach at Ke’ehi Lagoon.
Photo by Elizabeth Miles
MOLASSES KILL: Dead fish picked up on the beach at Ke’ehi Lagoon.

HONOLULU — State lawmakers aren’t returning to work until Oct. 28 for a special session, but residents aren’t waiting for answers.

More than 2,000 Hawaii residents have contacted their legislators about two key issues — gay marriage and a molasses spill Sept. 9 in Honolulu Harbor, deemed by the Sierra Club as “one of the worst environmental disasters in Hawaii’s history.”

While the debate over whether to legalize marriage between gay couples is controversial — Gov. Neil Abercrombie is convening the special session to debate the issue — lawmakers have actually received more letters from people upset over the 233,000-gallon spill.

Some 26,000 fish were killed, and the reefs at Honolulu Harbor and the nearby Keehi Lagoon were destroyed.

The Sierra Club’s Hawaii chapter launched a campaign Wednesday demanding accountability from Matson Navigation, the shipping company that owns the pipe from which the molasses leaked. Matson is Hawaii’s largest shipping company, responsible for the transport of about 85 percent of container-shipped goods to the islands from mainland states.

Sierra Club said on its website: “Matson spilled 233,000 gallons of molasses into our ocean; killed at least 26,000 fish; and caused one of the worst environmental disasters in Hawaii’s history. But Matson ‘can’t say’ whether they will commit to cleaning up Honolulu Harbor? Let’s hold Matson accountable. Let’s make sure they pay for the damage they caused.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state Department of Health are jointly investigating the molasses spill.

Tenants of Honolulu Harbor must inspect their own pipelines. The Department of Transportation notified Matson about a possible leak in July 2012, but Matson officials checked the pipe and did not find a problem. State workers noticed a leak in May but didn’t tell Matson.

The spill has cost state and federal taxpayers millions.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, promised Gov. Neil Abercrombie federal money to cover expenses related to the spill.

So far, Hawaii lawmakers have not said whether they will address the spill during the upcoming special session.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. 1)"U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, promised Gov. Neil Abercrombie federal money to cover expenses related to the spill."
    B.S. is saying B.S. cause the feds are BROKE! Where does he get the money from? His salary? Yet he stated today; "….the United States government has been forced to shutdown. Every moment that the government remains closed endangers our economy and American families across the country." More at; http://www.khon2.com/2013/09/30/hawaii-lawmakers-

    2) Know it was a week before ceo, state, & legislature to meet, despite knowing thousands of gallons killing fishes from day 1?
    "Well, we wanted to make sure we coordinated everybody’s presence as well as to monitor what was the status,” Rep. Yamane said.
    WHAT ELSE WAS SO IMPORTANT THAN THIS DISASTER? The same sex marriage?
    BTW, Mr. Yamane professes t/b a bible loving Christian, but he's for same sex marriage, & rail. What a hypocrite.

    3) Gov. Abercrombie 586-0034

  2. There's plenty of "bible loving" Christians who are for same sex marriage, which is hypocritcal. They are perverting God's truth to suit their emotions. Pelosi, Biden, Sebilius, and Kerry are supposedly all Catholic, but support same sex marriage also. The bedrock of western civiliazation is the marriage between 1 man and 1 woman, just as the bedrock of western civilization revolved around the Bible.

    The modern brain dead movement is trying to erase all this, calling anything Bible based as "racist, sexist, bigoted, homophobic", and the youth of the USA has been having a steady diet of that for the past 40 years in school.

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