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Hawaii state agency led by ‘water equity’ pusher delayed emergency service deployment

 August 20, 2023

The West Maui Land Company, a firm managing both agricultural and residential territories and water districts on the island, has stated that a Hawaiian state agency postponed its request for water to battle the wildfire during key hours, insisting instead on consulting local farmers first.

The company made the allegations in a letter addressed to the Hawaii Commission on Water Resource Management (CWRM) Deputy Director Kaleo Manuel, as Daily Wire reported.

Lahaina Blaze: Delayed Water Assistance Response

The delay allegedly lasted several hours, and by the time the request was granted, it was tragically too late, Fox News reported.

The fires have resulted in 111 confirmed fatalities, a number that includes children, with much of the affected area still to be searched and hundreds of people still missing.

Glenn Tremble from the West Maui Land Company made the original request to divert water from streams on Aug. 8 as the fire was engulfing the town of Lahaina, yet several hours elapsed without any response, CNN reported.

He wrote in his letter, "We anxiously awaited the morning knowing that we could have made more water available to (the fire department) if our request had been immediately approved."

Tremble added, "We cannot know whether filling our reservoirs at 1:00 p.m. (as opposed to not at all) would have changed the headlines when dawn broke… We know that we need to act faster during an emergency."

Deputy Director's Views on "Water Equity" Questioned

Manuel, the agency's deputy director, has come under scrutiny for previous remarks on "water equity."

A recently rediscovered video clip displays him speaking about how water "requires true conversations about equity."

He adds, "My motto has always been: let water connect us, not divide us."

The state's website indicates that Manuel has consistently tried integrating planning and indigenous knowledge into Hawaiian water advocacy and management.

The West Maui Land Company fiercely criticized CWRM in their letter, stating, "We are all devastated. No one is happy there was water in the streams while our homes, our businesses, our lands, and our lives were reduced to ash."

The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources has since reassigned Manuel to a different division.

In a press release, the agency clarified that the reassignment was not a punishment for wrongdoing but intended to enable the department to concentrate on aiding Maui's recovery.

Additional Scrutiny and Investigations

The situation has also brought Hawaiian Electric under examination for purportedly delaying modernization and repairs to its electrical grid.

The utility company has been accused of prioritizing the expansion of its green energy network instead.

The state attorney general has declared that a third party will be used to scrutinize how both state and local government agencies responded to the devastating fires, NBC News reported.