HILO, Hawaii (AP) - A Big Island tour company that operated unpermitted tours of the lava flow near the Puu Oo volcanic cone is facing more than $9,000 in fines.
The state Department of Land and Natural Resources on Friday approved a $9,100 fine for Ahiu Hawaii LLC, The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported (https://bit.ly/1CQuAxn). The company is being ordered to pay administrative and civil penalties for holding tours in Kahaualea Natural Area Reserve, which restricted public access in July 2007.
Ahiu Hawaii manager Orion Enocencio has “indicated verbally that he plans to request a contested case hearing” about the penalties, department spokesman Deborah Ward wrote in an email. He has 10 business days to do so, Ward said.
In a previous email, Enocencio said his company complied with the state’s cease-and-desist letters and began launching its lava flow tours on property it owns near the Wao Kele O Puna forest, where an old hunting trail leads to the lava field.
“We have continued to ask DLNR to show us the boundaries of (Kahaualea) so that we may be in the parameters of the law, but they never tried,” Enocencio wrote.
The state denied Enocencio’s application to lead commercial hiking trips in the reserve in May after they had delivered several cease-and-desist notices. Less than two months later, the Hawaii Fire Department responded to a report that a female had injured her ankle while on a hiking tour with Ahiu Hawaii.
Information from: Hawaii Tribune-Herald, https://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/
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