Kim apparently sees no conflict in allowing Takemoto to serve on the committee, even though Monsanto tried to pull off a major water grab last year. The chemical company unsuccessfully sought approval from CWRM to drill a new well that would have drawn 2.636 million gallons per day (“mgd”) of potable basal ground water from the Waipahu-Waiawa Ground Water Management Area. Monsanto currently takes water from the Waiahole Ditch. But it wanted to double dip so it could be assured of having an emergency back-up source for 2,052 acres of seed corn and other crops, according to the CWRM staff report.
The Hawaii Independent reports Kim made the appointment at the request of Sen. Malama Solomon, one of the lawmakers who pushed the Public Lands Development Corp. It also reports that Solomon received contributions totaling $2,000 from Monsanto last year, while Kim got $1,000. In an earlier story, it reported that Monsanto attorney Yvonne Izu is a former deputy director of the water commission.
Takemoto currently serves on the state Agribusiness Development Corp., and the Board of the pro-biotech Hawaii Crop Improvement Association. He previously served on the Board of Advisors to the UH College of Tropical Ag while working as a lobbyist for the Hawaii Farm Bureau.
It's all so very cozy, isn't it?
Speaking of cozy, Grove Farm is trying to get 11,026 acres designated as Important Ag Lands, which means the company gets tax credits for keeping the acreage in ag. Though the law was intended to protect prime ag lands, Grove Farm admits that at least 80 percent of the land is rated D and E, as in marginally productive. But that isn't the only troubling aspect of its application. Grove Farm also wants IAL designation for three reservoirs — Papuaa, Halenanahu, and Kapaia — that do not serve the proposed IAL lands. They do, however, serve such decidedly non-ag uses as the Puakea Golf Course and Grove Farm's commercial and residential projects in Lihue and Kalepa.
So why the big stretch? I'm sure Grove Farm is hip to a little-known provision in the state law that gives IAL owners tax credits for "legal and other consultant services" for water. That's how Hawaii Commercial and Sugar and A&B were allowed to write off millions of dollars in lawyers and biological consultant fees, at the taxpayers' expense, to fight the community in the Na Wai Eha water allocation case on Maui.
That tax credit was jammed into the IAL law at the last minute by — who else? — A&B and the Hawaii Farm Bureau, which takes us back to Alan Takemoto.
Oh, yes. It's all so very cozy, while taxpayers, the land and the water are getting screwed.