Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. claims it can't grow sugar cane without burning and it has the community scared it'll lay off workers.
But here's the truth:
HC&S can harvest cane in the identical fashion with its existing equipment without burning. It does it every time we have Kona winds and it's forbidden to burn. It did it earlier this month.
If it were prohibitively expensive, as HC&S claims, then wouldn't the company just wait, rather than no-burn harvest?
In 2011, Alexander & Baldwin/Matson made a $156 million profit with $22 million of that coming from the agricultural business.
So, when HC&S/A&B poor-mouths and threatens to put people out of work, ask yourself, "Are they just trying to keep burning going as long as possible by spinning us a line of baloney while raking in that extra little bit of profit on top of what they'd make no-burn harvesting?"
Come on, HC&S. Stop giving people lung disease to increase profits. And stop using workers as pawns in order to beef up the bottom line. With $22million/year in agricultural profits, the company's got room to operate without choking us with smoke.
Department of Health: Do your job. Stop giving HC&S open-air burn permits. After all, if my little backyard fire is prohibited for health reasons, you have to admit that 36,000 acres of cane smoke is bad for our health too.