Hawaii District Court rules on Makua Military Reservation
November 8, 2010
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - The Hawaii District Court released its ruling on cross motions for summary judgment in the case of Malama Makua versus Robert Gates, secretary of defense et al, Oct. 27.
The issue before the court was whether the Army's subsurface archaeological and marine resources studies complied with the provisions of the 2001 and 2007 settlement agreements. Both parties filed motions for summary judgment on these two remaining claims.
The court ruled that, with respect to the subsurface survey claim, summary judgment was granted in part to each party.
To the extent Malama Makua seeks a better subsurface survey of Areas 1 to 3, the court found that the settlement agreements do not require the Army to conduct any particular type of survey, and that the Army's survey of those areas was sufficient to meaningfully satisfy its obligations.
The court found that, to the extent the Army failed to conduct any subsurface survey of Areas A to F, the Army violated its agreement to survey all areas of the Company Combined Arms Assault Course.
On Malama Makua's claim that the Army violated its marine resource survey obligations, summary judgment was granted in part to each party.
Summary judgment was granted in favor of the Army with respect to the 2001 settlement agreement, and on Malama Makua's claim that the general procedures used in the marine resource survey were deficient because "the settlement agreements did not require any particular marine resource survey; they required only that such a survey be done."
Summary judgment was granted in favor of Malama Makua on its claim that the Army's survey did not test background contamination of limu, and it did not determine whether the arsenic detected was harmful to human health.
"On the remaining issues raised by the motions, summary judgment was denied to both parties, given the numerous questions of fact surrounding the Army's obligation to test marine resources on (the) area residents rely (on) for subsistence," the ruling said.
The U.S. Army will abide by the court's order and carry on its responsibility to serve as a good steward of the natural environment.
The Army continues to demonstrate this commitment by investing millions of dollars annually in programs that enable the Army and its Soldiers to minimize, and in some cases eliminate, the effects of its operations on the environment, while carrying out the ongoing national defense mission.