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State roundup for September 17

Matson to pay for spill cleanup

HONOLULU (AP) — The chief executive of the transit company responsible for spilling 1,400 tons of molasses in Hawaii waters says the company will fully pay for cleanup and other costs without passing them on to taxpayers or customers.

Matson Navigation Co. CEO Matt Cox said Monday that he is sorry for the spill, and the company won’t ship molasses until it’s confident a similar spill will not occur.

“We’ve let you down, and we’re very sorry,” Cox said.

Cox said it’s too early to know how much the spill will cost to clean up. He spoke after taking a boat tour of the harbor and nearby waters with state officials, lawmakers and reporters.

Crews working the water and shorelines have collected about 25,000 dead fish and other animals from surrounding waters since the spill was discovered Sept. 9, officials said Monday.

The spill happened in Honolulu Harbor in an industrial area west of downtown, where Matson loads molasses and other goods for shipping, about 5 miles west of Waikiki.

Some 233,000 gallons of molasses spilled from the leaky pipe as the sugary substance was moved from storage tanks to ships sailing to California.

Chris Lee, a safety and security manager at Matson, told reporters during the tour that Matson learned of the spill from one of its neighbors who noticed something in the water on Sept. 9, one day after Matson finished pumping the molasses and sent its boat to Oakland, Calif.

“Once the ship was full, we didn’t have any indication that there was any problem,” Lee said.

In a phone interview, Hawaii U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz said it’s clear lawmakers have to look at how the system run by Matson Navigation Co. is regulated by federal and state officials.

$16M Haleiwa project to begin

HALEIWA, Oahu (AP) — Kamehameha Schools says it will break ground next month on a $16 million redevelopment of the Oahu North Shore business district that includes Matsumoto’s Shave Ice.

The trust said Monday the Haleiwa shave ice stand popular with tourists and residents will remain open during construction.

The project will reuse five historic buildings, including the one housing Matsumoto’s.

The redevelopment will add 95 parking stalls in a lot behind storefronts and public restrooms.

It’s being designed to move lines of shave ice customers away from busy Kamehameha Highway.

Kamehameha Schools Senior Land Asset Manager Kalani Fronda says the trust approached this project with the rural community and culture in mind.

The private charitable trust is Hawaii’s largest landowner. Its mission is to improve the capability and well-being of Hawaiians through education.


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