Hawaii & Alaska
Leilani Cabrales (December 2021)

HI - Residents plan legal action to halt controversial Kā'anapali Beach restoration plan

West Maui residents said they are pursuing legal action and other measures to halt a beach restoration plan at Kāʻanapali Beach that they say is riddled with negative environmental and cultural impacts.

The state is proposing to bring to shore 50,000 cubic yards of sand, which will nearly double the width of Kāʻanapali Beach–from 41 to 78 feet–in order to mitigate erosion. Sand would be moved to an approximately 1-mile section from an 8.5-acre sand field located about 150-800 feet seaward of Kāʻanapali Beach.

Kāʻanapali Beach Restoration and Berm Enhancement’s final environmental impact statement has been submitted to the governor, according to the state Office of Environmental Quality Control’s “The Environmental Notice” published last week. The document awaits the governor’s acceptance, and there is no deadline for decision, the office said.

Kekai Keahi, Lahaina resident and community organizer, on Monday said that residents are pursuing legal action and will do anything necessary to prevent the plan from moving forward.

“We are going to take legal action,” he said. “They have 16 more permits–every step, we will be there.”

Concerned residents, including three area canoe clubs, are worried the work will smother the reef, permanently damage delicate ecosystems, and alter the only state-sanctioned canoe race location on Maui.

“If they go ahead and put the sand where they say they’re going to, it will alter the race course,” Walker “Boy” Crichton, Lahaina Canoe Club coach and vice president, said on Monday.

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