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Challenge to Live-Fire Training at Makua Moves Forward

Since the 1920s, the U.S. Army has engaged in live-fire training at Makua, an area on O'ahu's western shore that is home to more than 40 endangered plants and animals, as well as hundreds of Native Hawaiian cultural sites.

There have been no live-fire exercises at Makua since June 2004 due to the Army's failure to adequately study, and disclose to the public, the potential impacts of training on wildlife and cultural resources. The army agreed to conduct such studies under a 2001 settlement, but announced plans to resume training without completing them. Now, a court -- responding to an Earthjustice lawsuit on behalf of local organization Malama Makua -- has ruled that the Army must provide the community with "meaningful information" about training impacts on the environment.

"To make a rational decision about whether to allow training at Makua, it's critical that decision-makers and the public have accurate information about the harm to public health and cultural sites that resuming training at Makua could cause," explained Earthjustice attorney David Henkin. "This ruling puts the Army on notice that the court will not allow the Army to pass off woefully inadequate studies as meaningful."