Matson CEO: Taxpayers won’t pay for cleanup

Molasses fish kill totals 25,000

Published  7:27 PM HST Sep 16, 2013
Fish
HONOLULU -

The report of the haul from the mid-morning fish count was encouraging.  The collection over the weekend is dwindling.

The state hopes to get a dollar value of the fish kill.

The tally is 25,000 dead fish of all sizes, but no protected species.

"There is one monk seal seen at the boathouse interested in some of the fish," said state land director William Aila.

Lawmakers took a tug out on the harbor to see first-hand where the molasses leaked from an unused pipe.

Matson pointed out the raised pipe that is what it normally uses.

"Our initial investigation focused here and we started going both directions looking for any indication of a problem," said Matson incident commander, Chris Lee.

 It was Horizon Shipping lines that first noticed the spill because the molasses was coming out of a pipe on their side of the harbor.

But it’s believed Matson is responsible for the easement even though the pipe is not part of the system it normally uses.

On Monday, the company's president apologized once again to the people of Hawaii with the assurance that consumers won't pay for this through any rate hikes.

"Matson accepts responsibility and a commitment that taxpayers are not going to have to foot the bill and exactly what the cost is not known. Time will tell," said Fox.

Officials are still keeping a close eye on Keehi Lagoon where discoloration is still heavy and the area is off-limits to recreational uses.

Water is still being tested in 11 areas and so far oxygen levels have gone up in five of the 11 areas.

"I think there are lots of unanswered questions that we will need to look at as lawmakers about inspections and responsibilities and maintenance that the public has been asking," said Rep. Della Au Bellotti.

DOT officials didn't require a molasses response plan and apparently didn't see a need to inspect the system. So, what happens now?

"If we need an inspection system for molasses, because all the other regulated commodities pretty stringently and Matson follows all of those,” said state transportation director Glenn Okimoto.

So did the DOT flag the need to inspect that section of that pipe, KITV asked.

"Not to my knowledge," Okimoto said.

The state hopes to get some results of the fish and coral sampling later this week.

Talks are underway to come up with a plan to offset the environmental damage.

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