News Release from Councilmember Kymberly Marcos Pine
Yesterday the Council took an important step toward restoring environmental justice in our communities. With the support of farmers throughout Oahu, the Concerned Elders of Waianae, the KAHEA Environmental Alliance, our leeward neighborhood boards and the vigilant members of the community, the Honolulu City Council unanimously passed Bills 35, 36 and 37, commonly referred to as the Environmental Justice Bills. These bills will protect our 'aina and improve reporting and relationships between residents, farmers and City inspectors that regulate stockpiling, grading and grubbing.
In the more than 20 months since I was sworn into office to represent our district, I have enjoyed being actively involved to join our community’s effort to stop illegal dumping in our communities and throughout Oahu. In that time, we engaged our members of the community to watch their neighborhoods, report potential illegal dumping, and send in testimony encouraging my fellow Councilmembers to support the Environmental Justice bills.
Today, we are grateful for that support. As the bills now move to the Mayor’s desk for his signature, I am happy to report that when they are adopted, they will provide our City inspectors with the tools to effectively curb illegal dumping.
The final bills enhanced the penalties for illegal dumping by 500%, created a new class of penalties for repeat offenders that would effectively raise fines by 1000%, provided the City with the power to refuse to issue after-the-fact permits for violators or to order a violator to restore the land to its original condition, and for the most egregious violations (those occurring at the same place by the same violator in a five-year period) – provided the City with the power to refer the violation to the City Prosecutor for criminal prosecution.
These bills are a first step toward empowering our communities to fight back against the illegal dumping and senseless destruction of our natural resources in Leeward Oahu and throughout our island home.
Mahalo again to all those who made yesterday possible.