A bill prohibiting having feral deer or releasing them into the wild was signed into law Thursday by Gov. Neil Abercrombie.
Senate Bill 3001 was passed by the Legislature as a measure to prevent the spread of Axis deer.
The deer have thrived on Maui, causing an estimated $1 million in damage to farms, ranches and tourist resorts. There has been environmental damage on Molokai and Lanai as well. And recently on Hawaii island, they have caused damage to ranch grasslands, farm crops and plants that are vital to maintain watershed areas.
The new law aims to stop the deliberate spread of wild or feral deer and establishes penalties for the intentional possession or interisland transportation or release of wild or feral deer.
“It is imperative that Hawai’i’s environment and local industry be protected from the devastating effects that non-native species can pose to the health of our local economy and ecosystem, ” said Sen. Gilbert Kahele (District 2- Ka’u, Puna, Hilo), who introduced the measure. “This measure establishes the regulations needed to prevent the unwanted spread of Axis Deer so that our environment and businesses can continue to grow and prosper,” he said in a press release.
WAILUKU – Earlier this year, the County Council demanded that the Lanai Co. “ask” for an appraisal of the value of its water company, with a view toward acquiring it to be part of the Department of Water Supply.
The appraisal by Brown & Caldwell is in. It estimates that if the county acquires the Lanai water system, rates would have to be raised nearly 900 percent, since costs of operation, new equipment and paying for the system would require nearly 10 times as much money as the $553,000 in revenue that the private company now enjoys.
On Tuesday, the Water Resources Committee, without comment, passed the agenda item on to the next council. If it had not done something, the Lanai proposal would have been filed.
Unresolved council projects expire automatically with the council that gave them birth, unless specific action is taken to pass the uncompleted work on to the next council. The next council will have five new members.
Mayor-elect Alan Arakawa has said since the beginning of his first term in 2003 that he wanted all water in the county to come under public control. That would include private water companies at Kapalua, Kaanapali, the Wailuku Water Co. and East Maui Irrigation.
However, during his first term, Arakawa did not acquire any private water for the county.