Aloha e, Captain Richard D. Hayes, Ms. Denise Emsley,
These are my comments on the Proposed Plan, Barbers Point Sanitary Landfill by NavFac Hawaii, Solid Waste Management project.
I, Michael Kumukauoha Lee, recognized Native Hawaiian cultural practitioner of limu, Papakilohoku and recognized cultural descendant of the ahupua'a of Honouliuli, Ewa, is most sincerely requesting further investigation and documentation into the disregard of established Federal and State of Hawaii laws that should be protecting our native cultural resources and identified important ancient Hawaiian habitation area used for centuries.
This is a depraved indifference to the rights of my Hawaiian cultural practice and iwi kupuna burials in this area. There is cause of standing of imminent harm to my family’s Hawaiian cultural resources.
I am referencing the site which today is used as a military toxic waste dumping place contaminating the subsurface fresh water systems which directly sustain my cultural limu medicine practice. The Ewa shore was once known as the Hale o Limu – House of Limu, for the many abundant varieties of limu varieties sustaining our Hawaiian people and the once thriving fisheries supporting also our turtles, seals and reef fish.
This area, prior to being taken over in WW-II for a Navy air base, was a well known wetlands, ancient pond on land in the Ewa, Oahu area called Kalaeloa under the jurisdiction of the US Navy which has been in the news recently. Many maps and old air photos, as well as the Navy Base Realignment and Closure studies conducted by the Tuggles in 1997-99, show this area as a wetland and pond area. While the use of the area was justified under the emergency defense conditions of WW-II, the Navy must now fully restore the area to natural conditions and stop the contamination and pollution of our reef, fisheries and limus, not to mention the possible health issues to our people swimming in tide pools containing cancerous chemicals.
Please see attached addendum with photos. Because this activity clearly has had an Adverse Effect under NEPA, NHPA, Hawaii State Law, the Hawaii State Constitution, Article XII, Section 7, a Cultural Landscape Report and Biological Hazards analysis needs to be done as mitigation and remediation for the prior military use of this area. This would be the fair response and certainly not just putting some dirt over the cancerous chemical contamination and leaving it to pollute and kill our fisheries, endangered reef animals and young children swimming there.
Why aren’t the State and Federal laws that are supposed to protect us and our cultural heritage being followed? Why was I, as the officially recognized cultural and lineal descendant of this area not fully consulted on the project plans in the very beginning before they proceeded with the very first meeting? It strongly appears there was an attempt to hide this and not notify me, which is inexcusable as I have been a Section 106 consultant in prior Navy projects and I have recognized cultural descendant status from Honouliuli Ewa by the City, State and US Navy.
The person chosen as the Navy’s Hawaiian consultant with regard to this site’s cultural and religious resources is not the area’s officially recognized Hawaiian cultural practitioner by the Oahu Island Burial Council and State of Hawaii Historic Preservation Division, as I am. Further, his unlicensed hearsay site analysis has allowed the Navy to override the advice of the SHPD’s chief archeologist who recommended an Archeological Inventory Survey and no use of heavy construction machinery on the very fragile wetland, wildlife refuge and 10,000 year old Ordy pond. This current Navy dump site is in fact also an ancient water pond and wetlands of very high Hawaiian cultural and Western scientific value surrounded by many archeological sites.
This is a fact and documented in reports and maps prior to the Navy use of the area and after the closing of the Navy air base. The Navy is trying to escape responsibility for this environmental and cultural injustice.
I must constantly rely upon vigilant protection of my religious, traditional and customary Native Hawaiian practices and cultural and natural resources or I will loose them forever. As the kahu, or keeper, of the iwi kupuna in this area, as recognized by the Oahu Island Burial Council and State of Hawaii Historic Preservation Division, it is my responsibility to ensure the protection and safety of all the bones and objects within my family’s burial complexes in this area. There has been no adequate archeology surveys of this area since the 1990’s, known to have Hawaiian many archeological sites and wahi pana. Further, no comprehensive studies have been done to prove the environmental safety and no ill effects on the fisheries, reef and to human occupants living and using this area for sustenance and recreation.
Also, as a long time kahunalapa’auokekaiolimu, or Native Hawaiian practitioner of limu medicine, disturbance of the fresh water source and water conditions in these interior wetlands adversely affect my protected cultural limu practice. Fresh water flows through an extensive network of underground interconnected Karst caverns and channels from the mountains to the sea and contains the nutrients that feed the foundation of our Ewa eco-system food chain. This Navy dump area is among the last remaining large ancient pond and wetlands in the entire Honouliuli Ewa area of my practice, as the rest have been damaged by land development using heavy equipment crushing the subsurface mountains to the sea Karst water transport system.
I view this threat to my cultural practices as significant and have the justification under the Hawaii State Constitution to protect my cultural rights in this area. The Hawaii State Constitution, Article XII, Section 7, provides protection for subsistence, cultural and religious purposes possessed by ahupua'a tenants. I am urging an immediate investigation and mitigation because my rights are being violated and my important cultural resources are being damaged without adequate protection.
This project is receiving Federal funds on US Navy administered Federal property and must comply with the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA), Chapter 6E of the Hawaii Revised Statutes, Navy environmental directives and NAGPRA. They should perform an Archeological Inventory Survey, Cultural Landscape Report and Biological Environmental Hazards Report and not just rely upon unprofessional unlicensed hearsay advice.
I have a long standing officially documented vested interest in this area as a recognized Kahuna Lapa'au La'au o Limu and have successfully challenged these culturally protected rights in court and obtained a favorable ruling from the First Circuit Court of the State of Hawaii. Due to the urgency of this construction activity and damage already done I am requesting your expeditious attention to this investigation and reply within two weeks.
91-1200 Keauniu Drive, Unit 614,
Ewa Beach, Hawaii 96701
Please see Addendums, Attachments, Legal Documents and Photographs
Native Hawaiian Cultural Practitioner and recognized Kahuna Lapa'au La'au o Limu at Kualaka’i Beach, Oahu which is directly below the Navy toxic waste dump site.
A relaxing, educational experience and opportunity to taste samples of freshly picked limu.
However does this limu contain cancer causing contaminants? The Navy has no studies showing the subsurface water under the dump site which was a WW-II coral quarry dug right down to the ground water and ocean tide level isn’t poisoning limu, fish, sea creatures and people.
The limu shown in the surf is all edible or has a Hawaiian cultural medicinal use. Where are the studies showing the Navy toxic dump isn’t poisoning this important Hawaiian cultural resource?
Activities of ancient Hawaiian culture are found throughout this coastal area and burials are known to be found in the nearby sand dunes. At one time the Ewa fisheries and limu were highly abundant in this area before WW-II. Hawaiian cultural history has stories of the sister of the revered goddess Pele visited this place called the Spring of Hoakalei. The very first Polynesians were known to have made their first landings here. They were attracted by the lushness, richness and beauty that would sustain centuries of native Hawaiian families.
Kualaka’i Beach, Oahu is an especially beautiful showcase of both Hawaiian limu and Ewa Plains Karst. A wide range of both Hawaiian limu and Karst (limestone) formations can be seen in this location as well as often seen sea turtles and Hawaiian monk seals sunning on the beach.
It is very important to understand that the fresh water flowing through the subsurface caves and channels nourishes the wide variety of “House of Limu” sea algae. Limu actually requires fresh water in order to survive. Without it the shoreline limestone rocks are bare and lifeless and an entire ecosystem is killed off. This is documented Western science and not a “Hawaiian belief”
Known since ancient times as the “House of Limu” for many varieties and flavors as well as medicinal uses. All of the geological formations are ancient coral reef.
Reef fish, sea turtles and monk seals are often seen in the shallows and near shore waves.
The natural attraction is great but we do not know how much invisible pollution and cancerous chemical contamination is being carried and transmitted through the food chain to humans.
Mike Lee’s entire cultural practice is based upon the connectedness of the upland Karst water system where this very old Ti plant grows, with the beach areas makai at Kualaka’i – Nimitz Beach where he picks limu for food and medicinal purposes. Limu colonies vary greatly in type and quality depending upon the season of the year. Each has a unique taste and the fresh karst limestone water affects all of this and all creatures big and small depend on this resource or the area becomes a lifeless sea desert.
Found in Karst sinkholes are even honey bee hives important for pollination of area plants.
They are attracted to the subsurface fresh water. Clearly an entire ecosystem of insects, birds, plants fish, etc all depend on the Ewa Plain karst water system. Chemical contamination and destruction of this extremely important upland to lowland shoreline ecosystem and the Hawaiian cultural history that supported centuries of Hawaiian families clearly shows we do not have a sustainable culture and are killing off all our resources that sustain natural life on the Ewa Plain.
WRITTEN DIRECT TESTIMONY OF MICHAEL KUMUKAUOHA LEE
I am Native Hawaiian and a Hawaiian cultural practitioner. I have been recognized by several government entities as a Hawaiian cultural practitioner, such as the Honolulu City Council, the First Circuit Court, the Oahu Island Burial Council, and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Please refer to my affidavit for more information regarding my heritage and background as a recognized Hawaiian cultural practitioner.
I live at 91-1200 Keauniu Drive, Unit 614, Ewa Beach, Hawaii 96701, which is about 3 miles from the site. I am familiar with the area as it lies within my family’s Ahupua’a Honouliuli in the Moku (or district) of Ewa. I am currently the only descendent recognized by the Oahu Island Burial Council (OIBC) to protect the iwi kupuna, or royal bones and burials, located within the Ahupua’a Honouliuli. I have been involved in several case hearings to protect the iwi kupuna and my cultural practices in this area. Please see my affidavit for more details.
There are culturally very significant sites within this area and adjacent land parcels, namely the extensive underground and interconnected “karst” or water system, and areas which have also been proven to be a part of a burial complex of my Hawaiian family. Iwi kupuna are buried in subsurface in the karsts in and around this site and parcel area. The subterranean karst topography is characterized by an extensive system of porous channels and caverns that have been carved out by flowing groundwater over time.
The karst system underneath the proposed site is culturally significant for two reasons. First, as stated above, iwi kupuna are buried within it and such places are sacred to Native Hawaiians. As the kahu, or keeper, of the iwi kupuna in this area, and it is my responsibility to ensure the safety of all the bones and objects within my family’s burial complex. Second, fresh water flows through an extensive network of underground interconnected caverns from the mountains to the sea and contains the nutrients that feed the foundation of our food chain. The fresh water nourishes the algae and limu at the sea coast, and in turn the algae and limu are the food for all the mollusks, opihi, haukiuki, invertebrates, crabs, lobsters, shrimp, and the puumoo or chiton, that Native Hawaiians use for traditional ceremonies, such as the Mawaewae ceremony for newborn babies. The fresh water running through the cavern system exits into the sea through water holes along the Ewa shoreline. In ancient times, the Ewa shoreline was called Haleolimu, or the house of limu, due to the abundant amount of limu that thrived there. Today there is substantially less limu due to polluted urban runoff.
Furthermore, as a long time kahunalapa’auokekaiolimu, or Native Hawaiian practitioner of limu medicine, any disturbance in the fresh water source or water conditions at the Ewa seashore will adversely affect and could destroy the limu and thereby degrade my cultural practice or make such cultural practices impossible. I visit the Ewa seashore at least twice a month to identify and/or gather limu for my limu medicine practice. I also teach others about the practice of limu medicine. I was one of the co-founders of the Ewa Limu Project, the purpose of which is to restore the limu along the Ewa Beach coastline, while making every effort to replant for future harvest and to educate the community to replant and strengthen the various types of limu found there. The Honolulu City Council honored the co-founders for the success of the project, as evidenced by a certificate that I received on January 28, 2004, entitled “Honoring and Commending the Ewa Limu Project.” See my affidavit for more details.
I view the potential threat to my cultural practices as significant and does not even mention the underground karst system throughout the area and the importance of it to my iwi kupuna and cultural practices. I have a right under the Hawaii State Constitution to protect my cultural rights in the area. The Hawaii State Constitution, Article XII, Section 7, provides:
The State reaffirms and shall protect all rights, customarily and traditionally exercised for subsistence, cultural and religious purposes and possessed by ahupua'a tenants who are descendants of native Hawaiians who inhabited the Hawaiian Islands prior to 1778, subject to the right of the State to regulate such rights.
The people that were chosen as consultants with regard to cultural resources are not Hawaiian cultural practitioners in the area. Urban and storm water runoff from the construction and project site entering the sea by way of above ground or through the Karst limestone will devastate the limu and other sea life at the Ewa seashore. With large erratic rainstorms becoming more frequent in our state, I believe managing polluted runoff is a legitimate concern, with potentially significant impacts in the area.
• I am a Papakilohökü and a Native Hawaiian practitioner of limu medicine and a practitioner of the Hä;
• My knowledge of limu was taught to me by my grandfather, Kino Guerrero and Uncle Walter Kamana;
• My knowledge of Hä comes from Aunty Alice Holokai;
• I possess knowledge of the Kaona of the 2102 lines of the Kumulipo;
• I am compelled to come forward at this time to reveal certain facts regarding significant Native Hawaiian cultural sites due to the threat of imminent harm, alteration, and destruction of sacred sites;
Proper identification and protection of historic and cultural sites. Protection of exercise of my religious and traditional and customary native Hawaiian practices and historical, cultural and natural resources my practices rely upon.
The Legislature has found that historic sites and especially unmarked burial sites are at increased risk of destruction and it serves the public interest to protect and preserve the traditional cultural landscape. Furthermore, the Constitution of the State of Hawai'i, in Article 12, Section 7, protects the exercise of traditional and customary practices and inherently, the resources these practices rely upon.
My connection to 'Ewa, the individuals buried in the unmarked burial areas, the knowledge I possess of traditional uses of the resources in the area, like limu, are important to the general public as there are established healing properties for many common and fatal diseases society is afflicted with. Preserving the cultural heritage of Hawaii is important to the wellbeing of the populace. Article XII, Section 7, of the Constitution of the State of Hawaii states:
TRADITIONAL AND CUSTOMARY RIGHTS, Section 7. The State reaffirms and shall protect all rights, customarily and traditionally exercised for subsistence, cultural and religious purposes and possessed by ahupua'a tenants who are descendants of native Hawaiians who inhabited the Hawaiian Islands prior to 1778, subject to the right of the State to regulate such rights.
Notwithstanding the strong Constitutional mandates and statutory obligations set forth to recognize the duties of the State of Hawaii and its sub-agencies to protect the traditional and customary rights of native Hawaiians and Hawaiians, the Hawaii Supreme Court has set forth judicial guidance and interpretation in this regard as well.
In Public Access Shoreline Hawaii vs. Hawaii County Planning Commission (PASH), 79 Hawai’i 425 (1995), hereinafter PASH, the Hawaii Supreme Court, recognizing over 150 years of court decisions validating the existence of Native Hawaiian traditional and customary rights as part of the state’s common law, reiterated that:
The State is obligated to protect the reasonable exercise of customarily and traditionally exercised rights of Hawaiians.
In Ka Pa’akai O Ka 'Aina v. Land Use Commission, 94 Haw. 31 (2000), hereinafter Ka Pa’akai, the Hawaii Supreme Court, again noting it was clear that the State and its agencies are obligated to protect the reasonable exercise of customarily and traditionally exercised rights of Hawaiians, to the extent feasible, noted the findings of the Hawaii State Legislature in 2000 that:
[T]he past failure to require native Hawaiian cultural impact assessments has resulted in the loss and destruction of many important cultural resources and has interfered with the exercise of native Hawaiian culture. The legislature further finds that due consideration of the effects of human activities on native Hawaiian culture and the exercise thereof is necessary to ensure the continued existence, development, and exercise of native Hawaiian culture. Act 50, H.B. NO. 2895, H.D. 1, 20th Leg. (2000).
The Ka Pa’akai court also noted:
With regard to native Hawaiian standing, this court has stressed that "the rights of native Hawaiians are a matter of great public concern in Hawaii." Pele Defense Fund v. Paty, 73 Haw. 578, 614, 837 P.2d 1247, 1268 (1992), certiorari denied, 507 U.S. 918, 113 S. Ct. 1277, The Ka Pa’akai court also set forth an analytical framework, in that instance for the LUC to adhere to, but in the spirit and intent of the law, a framework that all State and County entities should follow, especially the DLNR, which is espoused as follows. The proper analysis of cultural impacts should include:
1) the identity and scope of "valued cultural, historical, or natural resources" in the petition area, including the extent to which traditional and customary native Hawaiian rights are exercised in the petition area; (2) the extent to which those resources -- including traditional and customary native Hawaiian rights -- will be affected or impaired by the proposed action; and (3) the feasible action, if any, to be taken by the (agency) to reasonably protect native Hawaiian rights if they are found to exist.
Via this Testimony, I am helping the DLNR fulfill their duty on behalf of the public.
I have been granted standing in the Papipi Road issue and Kalo'i Case issue, before this very same DLNR for the very same area ('Ewa). I have also been recognized as a cultural descendant by the O'ahu Island Burial Council to this very same area and the primary informant for the ali'i burial complex and heiau which the OIBC officially recognized. I have a very strong, distinct and vested interest in this area as a Kahuna Lapa'au La'au o Limu and successfully challenged the CDUA for Kalo'i Gulch and obtained a favorable January 17, 2008 ruling from the First Circuit Court vacating this Board's May 11, 2007 Order granting Haseko's request for a conservation district use permit to discharge polluted stormwater into the ocean.
The Court remanded the decision "to the Board for receiving evidence and providing findings of fact and conclusions based upon a supplemental record." The Court's decision was based on the fact that "Haseko's water quality analysis failed to consider the cumulative impacts of the proposed project with existing stormwater discharges; or nutrient loads from Haseko's proposed stormwater outfall."
Any Relief Petitioner Seeks or Deems Itself Entitled to
Proper analysis of water quality and cumulative impacts of the proposed project with existing stormwater discharges; or nutrient loads from proposed stormwater outfall as mandated by the First Circuit Court in their January 17, 2008 Order.
Proper identification and protection of historic and cultural sites. Protection of exercise of my religious and traditional and customary native Hawaiian practices and historical, cultural and natural resources my practices rely upon, and underground water resources, such as the underground stream (Karst) which was breached, be adequately and corrected.
Mr. Lee has lived in the Moku (or district) of Ewa for over 13 years. He uses the area of One’ula in Ewa to gather limu and teach others. He also performs cultural practices related to communicating and honoring his ancestors. (Lee Aff. 11.)
One of the primary traditional cultural practices in the Petition Area was the gathering of native plant species. (FEIS, App. F at 91; 3/1/12, M. Lee 69: 19-25.)
Native Hawaiians traditionally gathered several types of limu in the Ewa area. (FEIS, App. F. at 98; Lee Aff. 4-9.))
The gathering of limu is a traditional and customary practice of Native Hawaiians. (3/1/12, M. Lee 75:4-8; Lee Aff 6.)
Mr. Lee’s grandfather, Kimo Valentine Guerrero, and Walter Kamana taught him about limu and the limu medicine. (3/1/12, M. Lee 60: 24-25, p. 61, l. 1; Lee Aff. 9.)
Mr. Lee can identify approximately seventy different types of Hawaiian limu by sight. (Lee Aff. 10.)
Limu gathering has taken place in the area around the Petition Area, and in areas that would be impacted by the proposed development, for over 500 years. (3/1/12, M. Lee 70: 4-13.)
Mr. Lee and other Native Hawaiians regularly gather limu in and around the Petition Area and in areas that would be impacted by the proposed development. (3/1/12, M. Lee 70: 11-17.)
In addition to limu, the high quality soils found in the Honouliuli area are also a Native Hawaiian cultural resource. (3/1/12, M. Lee 75: 7-12.)
The health of limu depends on a mix of salt water and fresh water. (Lee Aff. 45-46.)
The urbanization of the Petition Area would significantly increase the area’s impermeable surface thereby increasing the amount of surface water runoff. (Lee Aff. 47; 3/1/12 M. Lee, 94: 15-25, 95: 1-13; 96:17-20.)
Petitioner has not provided any studies regarding the impact that the increased urban and storm water runoff would have on the limu and other sea life at the Ewa seashore. (Lee Aff. 47.)
Petitioner does not propose, or commit to, any specific measures to mitigate the impact of increased runoff on the karst system and limu gathering rights.
One of the reasons the karst cave system is culturally significant is because it allows fresh water to flow out to the ocean and nourish the limu and sea life. (Lee Aff. 45-47; 3/1/12 M. Lee 72: 3-5.)
The fresh water karst and ancient burial cave system is the foundation for the limu at One’ula, which in ancient times was called Haleolimu, or the house of limu, which supports large amounts of sea life, a primary source of protein. (Lee Aff. 46; 3/1/12 M. Lee 72:1-5.)
Removal of freshwater from the underground karst system negatively impacts the health and quantity of limu. (3/1/12, M. Lee 72: 3-23.)