Chair Ailā Addresses Herbicide Use


Photo: Cedric Duarte

The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands has heard recent beneficiary and community concerns regarding the perceived spraying of glyphosate-based herbicides within homestead communities and near bodies of water. The unease sparked a response in the form of a letter penned by Hawaiian Homes Commission Chair William J. Ailā, Jr. last month.

In the Sept. 14, 2020 letter, Ailā reminded DHHL vendors that the Department has a strict practice of not using Roundup or similar products that are glyphosate-based for maintenance spraying activities near or within homestead communities and bodies of water. Other important safety measures and practices that are expected to be implemented in the use of all herbicides in the proximity of homestead communities were also highlighted in the letter.

“We take the concerns of beneficiaries seriously,” Ailā said. “While the majority of our vendors do a diligent job of maintaining our lands within the proper safeguards, the letter issued intends to serve as a reminder that Department practice does not permit the use of herbicides containing glyphosate in or near homestead communities and requests our vendors to be mindful of the safeguards in place to avoid community disturbance when conducting these activities.”

DHHL oversees the maintenance of its unencumbered land inventory, waterways, and drainage systems throughout the state. In most instances, keeping these areas clear of pests, debris, trash, vegetation, and abandoned vehicles is handled on a monthly basis by contracted vendors. For fiscal year 2021, the Department has $5 million of legislative appropriated funds allocated for repair and maintenance projects throughout the state.

Ailā emphasized, in his letter, that any reported violations against the Department’s spraying practice may result in the termination of the vendor’s contract.

The kuleana of caring for our ʻĀina Hoʻopulapula is a solemn responsibility that DHHL staff and the Hawaiian Homes Commission take seriously. You can read Ailā’s letter in full within DHHL’s website newsroom.

Issues on the homelands, including concerns over unauthorized or unsafe spraying, should be reported by calling the DHHL Contact Center at 808-620-9500.

Hawaiian Home Lands: Hawaiian Homes Commission