‘Landfill Must Stay Open, Court Rules’

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(Note: The following story by The Honolulu Star-Advertiser‘s Ken Kobayashi was reprinted in the Chicago Tribune on 5 May 2012. – js)

The Hawaii Supreme Court on Friday struck down a restriction barring the city from accepting garbage at the Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill after July 31.

The state Land Use Commission’s restriction was overturned in a unanimous 5-0 ruling.

The court noted that the city has maintained there is a continuing need to dispose municipal solid waste at the Leeward Oahu site and that it would take more than seven years to find and develop a new landfill.

The ruling was seen as a blow to Leeward residents who want the Waimanalo Gulch landfill closed, while Mayor Peter Carlisle said he was pleased with the ruling. City lawyers had argued against the July 31 provision.

“No community wants a landfill in its backyard, but it’s important to understand that our island will continue to need one for the foreseeable future to handle materials that can’t be recycled, can’t be turned into energy by the HPOWER plant or that result from a natural disaster,” the mayor said.

Richard N. Wurdeman, lawyer for U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, a former state senator representing the district that includes Ko Olina and Waianae; state Sen. Maile Shimabukuro, a Waianae resident; and the Ko Olina Community Association called the ruling a “temporary setback.”

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