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Pod Squad: The Battle Over Maunalua Bay

Hawaii Kai residents are justifiably concerned about proposed new restrictions, says their state representative, Gene Ward.

Possible new restrictions for the use of Maunalua Bay affect a coastline that stretches from Diamond Head east to Koko Head, but it’s in Hawaii Kai that the proposal has run into organized opposition that was on display at a boisterous meeting last week.

Gene Ward, a Republican state representative who moderated the meeting, joined Civil Beat reporter Nathan Eagle, who covered it, and Pod Squad host Chad Blair to talk about the issue.

Eagle said state and federal officials could have done a better job of explaining exactly what’s proposed, but added the confusion was also partly the result of the officials getting “shouted down” at the meeting. Ward expressed hope that all sides might still come together on a plan agreeable to most members of the community, but added he understood residents’ concerns because “nobody talked to us” earlier in the process.

The bay has been part of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary since 1997. Now the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration wants to work with the state to add a new layer of protection by making the degraded bay a special sanctuary management area.

Click here to listen to the podcast.

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