By James Gonser and Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writers
WAIANAE The Army has postponed deciding on the resumption of live-fire training at Makua Valley for at least 60 days and will hold public meetings to address concerns raised by Waianae Coast residents, said Army Col. Mike Stine.
Stine told the Waianae Neighborhood Board last night that Maj. Gen. James Dubik, commanding general of the 25th Infantry Division (Light) and U.S. Army, Hawaii, decided yesterday that the Army needed more time to talk to the community and address issues raised at a Jan. 27 public meeting.
Stine said the Army identified 12 to 15 issues that would be discussed during upcoming public forums, including safety of transporting ammunition along Farrington Highway and possible contamination to the water table.
Board member Mark Suiso said postponing the decision makes a lot of sense.
"Everybody has different ideas on what should be done," Suiso said.
"Sitting down and getting a dialogue going will go a long way to reaching a compromise."
Nearly 500 people turned out for the Armys Jan. 27 meeting to discuss the effect of live-fire training on the valley. The 4,190-acre valley is home to 34 endangered species and many Hawaiian artifacts.
The Army suspended training in Makua Valley in September 1998 after more than 50 years of use so the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service could evaluate the effect of live ammunition on the endangered plants and animals.
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