KHON2: West-side Asks for Hearing on Rock Crushing and Landfill Expansion

"We would like to formally request a public hearing, to have it in the affected area," Shimabukuro said. "Obviously if you're going to be crushing big rocks it's going to be noisy, there's going to be dust flying in the air. What are the hours that they're going to be crushing these rocks? Are there any kind of environmental risks to this?"

“We would like to formally request a public hearing, to have it in the affected area,” Shimabukuro said. “Obviously if you’re going to be crushing big rocks it’s going to be noisy, there’s going to be dust flying in the air. What are the hours that they’re going to be crushing these rocks? Are there any kind of environmental risks to this?” -KHON2

KHON2 News aired “EXCLUSIVE: West-side Surprise: Rock Crushing, Landfill Expansion” on 7 Feb. 2013. The following excerpts are from the report by Gina Mangieri:

Waste Management of Hawaii, the city’s landfill contractor, has applied for a health permit to operate what’s described as crushing and screening plants, and more.

“They don’t even have a permit now, so it’s surprising that they’re asking for an additional permit to do this rock crushing,” said. Sen. Maile Shimabukuro, who represents the area.

A ruling by the Hawaii Supreme Court allowed the landfill to stay open past a previously set closure date of July 31, 2012, but kicked the matter back to the state Land Use Commission, which punted to the Honolulu Planning Commission. The matter has not been on any recent meeting agendas, paused now in city planning’s lap with city petitions for more time and more footprint. Now the request to the state Health Department adds a new layer.

“We would like to formally request a public hearing, to have it in the affected area,” Shimabukuro said. “Obviously if you’re going to be crushing big rocks it’s going to be noisy, there’s going to be dust flying in the air. What are the hours that they’re going to be crushing these rocks? Are there any kind of environmental risks to this?”

Where the Caldwell administration will stand on the petitions before Planning, and on landfill futures in general, will be part of a landfill related meeting next week. On Feb. 14, a spokesperson says the mayor will meet with the heads of Environmental Services and the Refuse Division, and the city’s attorney.

Those with a stake in landfill outcomes say they hope a different tact is taken from past administrations’ approach to where to put the island’s trash. Past mayors have done rank-by-panel projects on where to put a replacement landfill, and the last round put sites islandwide on the list including some windward.

A spokesperson for Mayor Caldwell said the mayor’s approach does include steps to reduce the need for a landfill. H-Power’s recent waste-to-energy expansion also moves in that direction.

“I just really hope that the city can fulfill its promise to close Waimanalo Gulch landfill,” Shimabukuro said. “This is something that the city has been saying for decades.”

Shimabukuro has introduced bills that would put a moratorium on municipal landfills on the leeward coast. The measures have not yet had a hearing.

She also introduced bills to tag on fees every time landfills get a health, safety or pollution violation, with the $250-per-incident surcharge made payable to nearby high schools. A House committee heard but deferred that bill.

Click here for the video and full report on the KHON2 site.

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