The Maui 10
Who's the county's most powerful player?
November 30, 2006
RANK PREVIOUS COMPANY
Maui Land & Pineapple Co.
2 Alexander & Baldwin
Maui Electric Co.
Wailuku Water Co.
NOT SO SWEET DEAL
In the highly competitive, super-charged business climate that is
Maui, it's not enough for a corporation—especially one like Alexander
& Baldwin—to simply advocate for better, more rational policies.
There comes a time when it must use its corporate power and influence
to better this island, nation and even world. For pretty much the last
decade, A&B—which owns Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar, one of the
most famous and powerful sugar growers in the nation—has coyly dropped
hints in various newspaper articles that it wouldn't mind if the
massive sugar subsidies handed out by the federal government were to go
away. For the ostensibly free-trade Republicans who have run the
federal government for the last decade, this should have provided them
the necessary cover to dump the subsidies. But no. And now, according
to the Nov. 27 issue of The New Yorker, our sugar subsidies are
hindering this nation's attempts to get more energy efficient. It's all
about ethanol, a biofuel far cleaner than petroleum gas. The problem is
that we currently derive ethanol from corn, which isn't in itself
energy efficient. It would be far more efficient to derive ethanol from
sugarcane, but our current sugar subsidies have made that product
prohibitively expensive to simply dump into a fuel refinery. Were
A&B more powerful, it could help sweep away the sugar subsidies,
ushering in a new sugar-ethanol world of cleaner engines and less
GOING TO SEED
Monsanto rises this week on news that no less a personage than UN
Secretary General Kofi Annan recently announced that if biotechnology
falls into the wrong hands, the results could be "catastrophic" for the
world. "As biological research expands, and technologies become
increasingly accessible," he said, "this potential for accidental or
intentional harm grows exponentially." Now that's power! MTW
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