$3,150 fine suggested for taking Maui rocks
WAILUKU » Three Oahu men each face a potential fine of $3,150 for allegedly taking river stones from Maui and attempting to transport them on the Hawaii Superferry.
The state Board of Land and Natural Resources is scheduled to review the recommended fines made by its staff tomorrow morning during a meeting in its conference room in the Kalanimoku Building in Honolulu.
Charlie K. Bright, Ralph Chun and Victor Fomoimoana were charged with unauthorized taking of the river rocks on state land near the Paukukalo shoreline.
State conservation enforcement officers said 934 river stones were in the three trucks. The men intended to use the rocks as Hawaiian cooking stones for imu, officials said.
The taking of the river stones on Aug. 28 raised worries among some native Hawaiians and came at a time when some Maui residents were criticizing the lack of an environmental impact statement by the Hawaii Superferry.
The Superferry later adopted rules that banned the transport of river stones.
Bright said he had bought the rocks from an individual and was taking them to Oahu for his Mormon church and was told by the bishop to go to Paukukalo, according to a state conservation enforcement supervisor.
Bright said his group uses the rocks to cook kalua pig for Boy Scout fundraisers.
"We had good intentions. It was for a good cause," Bright told the state enforcement supervisor. "We didn't know it was illegal or that we needed a permit."
State enforcement officials were alerted to the infraction in a complaint by a Maui Sierra Club member who saw the rocks in the trucks at the Superferry terminal in Kahului.
Under state mining and extraction guidelines, the taking of rocks requires state approval of a conservation district use permit.
Officials said the proper permit was not received.
State enforcement officials recommended that the three trucks be returned to the men after they pay the fines.
River rocks are sought for imu stones because they are porous and retain heat without cracking or exploding.