July 19, 2010

Honolulu, HI

Leeward Land Company, Ltd. filed a complaint in Circuit Court today, July 19, alleging that the City and County of Honolulu violated ordinances when it revised the Waianae Public Infrastructure Map (PIM) and appropriated funds from the Clean Water and Natural Lands Funds to create a park on private land slated to be used to expand PVT’s construction landfill (known as Nanakuli B).   Leeward Land Company’s complaint states  “The regional park designation is illegal because it is contrary to the Waianae Sustainable  Communities Plan and other applicable City plans.”

However, Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hanneman said, “This is not the case of shutting down a landfill, there is no new landfill.  This is a situation where they want to keep all options open.  The community has made it very clear that they do not want a new landfill in this area.”

As we pointed out on some of our earlier radio broadcasts of The Carroll Cox Show, Mayor Hannemann’s character is bankrupt as it relates to ethics and honesty in this matter. The mayor’s suggestion that he has taken action solely to turn the area into a regional park is ludicrous.  For years the community has been telling him they didn’t want the Waimanalo Gulch Landfill to continue operation after its permit expired.  Hannemann could have closed the Waimanalo Gulch Landfill but instead chose to seek its expansion.  So, why now does Hannemann say he is listening to the community objecting to the Nanakuli site being used as a construction and debris (C&D) landfill?   Hannemann’s actions can best be described as killing two birds with one stone.  He’ll force the closure of the PVT landfill, get a “park”, which is very unlikely to be developed, and line the pockets of those that might wish to open and operate a landfill in another area along the Waianae coast.  There is absolutely no way Honolulu can operate with out both a C&D and a Municipal and Solid Waste landfill.     

What is troubling is that the mayor is using the community to do his dirty work.  The information that we have on the situation suggests that the mayor is playing loosely with the trust of the public while at the same time using them as a ruse to accommodate others who are interested in opening a landfill at the old Kaiser Sand Quarry located on the Waianae coast in Maile.   It should be noted that Mayor Hannemann appointed the current sitting members of the Honolulu City Planning Commission.  If the owners of the Maile quarry submit a permit to open a landfill, Hannemann’s hand-picked Planning Commission members will rubber stamp their approval for the landfill operation.   If Hannemann is successful in his bid for Governor of the State of Hawaii he will appoint and browbeat members of the Hawaii State Land Use Commission into rubber stamping and approving the permit to operate a landfill in the Maile quarry, as requested.   Another scenario would be that Hannemann, in his capacity as governor, can declare an emergency and declare the Maile quarry be opened for operations when the Waimanalo Gulch has reach it’s capacity and the Current PVT landfill is closed due to lack of space.    Like the Nanakuli B site that is now being proposed as a regional park, the Maile quarry site is also on the PIM.  However, many of the backers of Hannemann’s quest to turn the Leeward Land Company site into a regional park are also on the official record before the City Planning Commission supporting the Maile quarry owner in his quest to operate a landfill inside the quarry.   City records also show that the Maile quarry has, in fact, previously accepted coal ash for disposal, as well as C&D waste.  The area where the materials were dumped and buried is not lined as required by law and poses a high risk of leaching arsenic into the ground water in areas along the Waianae coast.   Hannemann did not object to these practices even while the community was objecting.  

We say, shame on Hannemann for playing on the emotions of the community.   The community has allowed themselves to be used as a political football.  They should be working with the land owner to come up with a resolution that will have a bona fide benefit to the community instead of being trashed by Hannemann’s political aspirations.  We would like to see a day when there are no landfills, but the reality is that our leaders, including the mayor, city council, state legislators, governor, and the Dept. of Health, have failed miserably in addressing the need for recycling and other efficient ways of managing our trash.   The best thing now is to work with both the community and the existing landfill until something better is found.  Resorting to the strong armed tactics we are witnessing from the mayor is wrong.   Keep in mind a landfill is a cash cow.  Based on the current state of affairs, we are going to need a landfill.  Hundreds of millions of dollars stand to be made by the parties starting it up.   It should also be noted Hannemann has affiliation and has lobbied for another entity that wishes to open a landfill in Kunia, Oahu, so stay tuned…….


Click here for a copy of the suit