HONOLULU (KHON2) — Hawaii Rep. Kai Kahele announced federal legislation related to Mākua Valley on the westside of Oahu that will be introduced in the U.S. Congress.

Officials stated the Leandra Wai Act would “remediate and restore Mākua Military Reservation,” as well as return that land from the military back to the State of Hawaii.

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“I remember my dad talking about the fight to end military operations at sacred places and return wahi pana like Kahoʻolawe and Mākua valley back to the people. These memories, along with the many individuals who have dedicated their lives to protecting Hawaiʻi’s sacred places, inform my actions today,” explained Kahele in a statement on March 17.

Here is what the Leandra Wai Act would do, according to officials:

  • Direct the Department of Defense, along with the State of Hawaii, to provide a cost estimate and cleanup schedule to remediate and restore the Mākua Military Reservation (MMR).
  • Direct the Secretary of the Army to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with the state to establish a Mākua Valley Conveyance, Remediation and Environmental Restoration Trust Fund.
    • They would also consult with Native Hawaiian Organizations on the timing, planning, methodology and implementation for the removal of unexploded ordnance and other contaminants at MMR.  
  • Authorize land conveyance under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) but exempt it from a provision that requires remedial actions to be completed before transfer to ensure timeliness of title transfer. 
  • Following the title transfer, the Department of Defense must abide by CERCLA and remain liable for UXO and other contaminants that it introduced to MMR. 

The new legislation was named after Leandra Wai, a cultural practitioner and former president of Mālama Mākua, officials added.