BY BUCK QUAYLE
U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii has introduced legislation calling for return of the island of Kahoolawe to the State of Hawaii.
The island, located about eight miles off the coast of Maui, currently is used by the Navy for bombing practice.
The bill introduced by Inouye would require the Navy to turn the island over to the State by the end of this year. It also would authorize funds during 1972 to clear the island of an estimated 10,000 tons of unexploded bombs.
"The people of Hawaii have been patient of the Navy's use of Kahoolawe for 31 years," Inouye said, "but that patience is wearing thin."
Kahoolawe, he said, "has the dubious distinction of being one of the most bombed islands in the Pacific."
Kah’oolawe is visible from the south shore of Maui. It is a relatively small island measuring in at just 11 miles long and six miles wide. The land is dry and arid; receiving no more than 25 inches of rain annually.
UPDATE 2011 (From official KIRC -The Kaho‘olawe Island Reserve Commission- site)
Kaho‘olawe Through Time
1976: Members of Protect Kaho‘olawe ‘Ohana (PKO) begin a series of occupations of the island in an effort to halt bombing. The PKO also files suit in Federal District Court to enjoin the Navy’s bombing activities.
1980: A consent decree is signed between the U.S. Navy and the PKO, which results in a Memorandum of Understanding requiring the Navy to begin soil conservation, revegetation, and goat eradication programs.
1990:As a result of PKO actions and litigation, President George Bush Sr. orders a stop to the bombing of Kaho‘olawe.
1993:Senator Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawai‘i) sponsors Title X of the 1994 Department of Defense Appropriations Act, which authorizes conveyance of Kaho‘olawe and its surrounding waters back to the State of Hawai‘i. Congress votes to end military use of Kaho‘olawe and authorizes $400 million for ordnance removal. 1994-The Kaho‘olawe Island Reserve Commission is established to manage activities on the island.
1997—1998:U.S. Navy awards contracts for the removal of unexploded ordnance on Kaho‘olawe. By November 2003, 74 percent of the island’s surface would be cleared. However, only nine percent of the island’s surface has been cleared to a depth of four feet. Ten percent of the island, or 2,936 acres, has not been cleared and is unsafe to access.
2003: Transfer of access control is returned from the U.S. Navy to the State of Hawai‘i in a ceremony at ‘Iolani Palace on November 11, 2003.
In the healing process for Kahoʻolawe, the KIRC relies on volunteers to get the job done. Through our Restoration, Ocean, and Cultural programs and the supporting Operations program, there are many varied volunteer opportunities that you can participate in. These include reforestation and erosion control projects, fish monitoring and species surveys, historical site restoration and protocol assistance, infrastructure improvements, and a myriad of other projects.
Buck Quayle at the Maui Lahaina Sun bureau circa 1970
Reporter/Photographer Buck Quayle in 1971 in Maui with the Cartagenian in the background
Another Day At The Office Haleakala National Park