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August 21, 2023

Maui’s Failed Response

How leftist ideology blinded government officials to the reality.

When it comes to the nation’s deadliest wildfire in over a century, there appears to be a lot of blame to go around. As we have previously noted, blaming the fire on climate change is merely a disingenuous effort by the Leftmedia to support the campaign against fossil fuels. It also serves to add cover for the Democrat politicians who have long been running states like California and Hawaii.

What led to the Maui wildfire turning into a raging inferno that left at least 114 dead, more than 1,000 missing, and much of the coastal town of Lahaina in ashes has more to do with bad governmental decisions than it does the weather. In one sense, the wildfire can be boiled down to a water fight, land mismanagement, and a push for green energy all combining and leading to devastating consequences. And in all three cases, these problems were years in the making.

First, the water fight. In a recently discovered video clip, M. Kaleo Manuel, the deputy director of Hawaii’s Commission on Water Resource Management, talks about water management and embracing a holistic traditional Hawaiian cultural approach as he calls for “water equity.”

The reason this video suddenly went viral is because news came out that during the Maui wildfire, the West Maui Land Company, which manages several agricultural and residential subdivisions in the area, contacted Manuel seeking permission to divert water from streams in its efforts to fight the wildfire, which at that point had been contained.

In the video, Manuel says: “My motto has always been: let water connect us, not divide us. We can share it, but it requires true conversations about equity.”

Well, it appears that those conversations about water equity may have slowed the decision to approve the request for diverting water until it was too late. According to reports, the water commission’s delay was due to it seeking to clear the decision with local farmers and landowners. Glenn Tremble, an executive with West Maui Land Company, noted that the delay over several crucial hours allowed the wildfire to break out of control. “We followed the process,” Tremble stated. “The process failed us.”

Hawaii Democrat Governor Josh Green attempted to deflect blame from the water commission. “One thing that people need to understand,” he explained, “especially those from far away, is that there’s been a great deal of water conflict on Maui for many years.” If that is indeed the case, then apparently the state’s water commission failed to come up with an effective management system.

However, as noted above, all the blame does not fall on the water commission. There is also the decision by Hawaiian lawmakers to fund the green energy push over infrastructure development.

Back in 2015, the Democrat-dominated state legislature decided to go all in on the green dream, passing a first-in-the-nation law mandating that 100% of Hawaii’s energy be sourced from renewables by 2045. The company tasked with achieving this shortsighted goal was Hawaiian Electric Industries (HEI), the Aloha State’s largest electricity producer, accounting for 95% of the state’s power supply.

In order to meet the law’s ridiculous demand, HEI heavily invested in developing renewable energy sources instead of focusing funding on aging electrical infrastructure. Even still, the state utilities commission recognized that there was a potential for fire danger. Mina Morita, who served as the chairwoman of Hawaii’s utilities commission, admitted, “While there was concern for wildfire risk, politically the focus was on electricity generation.”

Here we have the push for green energy because of the dubious climate change narrative that has vilified fossil fuels, serving to blind the concern of the state’s utility commission to the real and dangerous problems associated with such a massive changeover. Apparently, going green was too important for the “future” to take seriously the concerns of potential wildfires in the present.

When commitment to ideological narratives overrides sober and rational decision-making based upon the reality on the ground, the consequences can be disastrous and deadly. Ironically, as Manuel opined, worldview does matter. The question is, does one’s worldview comport with truth and reality?

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