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Monday, April 22, 2019
April 22, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:11 PM :: 2569 Views

Crichton: Environmentalism is a religion

Ira Einhorn, Earth Day's Dirty Secret

Activist Attacks Destroy 15% of Hawaii Agriculture

SA: … Hawaii lost its last sugar cane plantation in 2016, but the amount of land in farming and number of farms grew during the most recent five-year statewide census of agriculture.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture counted 7,328 Hawaii farms on 1.14 million acres in 2017, up from 7,000 farms on 1.13 million acres in 2012.

The two increases were cited by state officials as bright spots for an industry under pressure from urbanization, foul weather, pests and aging operators. …

One major decline in Hawaii agriculture during the five-year period was the value of farm industry output, which fell 15% to $564 million in 2017 from $661 million in 2012. The number of farmworkers also decreased.

The state Department of Agriculture noted that the closure of Hawaiian Commercial &Sugar Co. by owner Alexander &Baldwin Inc. at the end of 2016 drove most of the decline in Hawaii farm output value. HC&S, which occupied about 36,000 acres on Maui, produced about $100 million in annual revenue for A&B in recent years.

Also contributing to the farm production value decline were seed corn producers that have been consolidating and scaling back operations in recent years.

New farms raising a variety of crops and livestock didn’t offset the production value decline, but they did help keep farmland productive and added to the number of farms statewide after a drop in Hawaii’s farm count from 2007 to 2012.

Small farms, those on less than 10 acres, accounted for nearly all the growth, with a 10% gain to 4,868 farms in 2017 from 4,412 farms in 2012, the census report released recently said…. 

USDA: Hawaii’s Number of Farms and Land in Farms Increased 2017 Census of Agriculture data now available

Related:

read … Big shifts hit Hawaii’s farm landscape

Budget battle: Nonprofit seeks financial data on Hawaii public schools

SA: … The DOE says that it has turned over numerous data files in response to requests from the institute, but there are legal limits to what can be released. So far, it says, it has shared electronic budget data, general ledger details of actual revenues and expenditures, financial audits and weighted student formula funding, among other records.

But EIH contends that the information is incomplete. In a recent message to the department, it complained that the revenue and expenditure data lacked sufficient detail — and that as much as $1 billion in spending was missing. While the 2017 financial audit shows total expenditures of $2.8 billion, the department provided EIH with expenditures totaling $1.8 billion, L’Heureux said.

“Plus, the revenue file contained just 1,287 rows of data, and the expenditure file contained just 4,276 rows of data versus the expected 30,000 to 100,000 rows of data if the data were specified at the level of detail we requested,” he said.

Lindsay Chambers, communications director for the Department of Education, said the $1 billion discrepancy covers spending by state agencies that are not part of the department’s Financial Management System.

That spending includes fringe benefits paid centrally by the state, such as pensions, health insurance for employees and retirees. It also includes the budget of the statewide public library system as well as the charter school system, which are separate from DOE.

“HIDOE provided the Education Institute of Hawaii records that are readily retrievable from the department’s Financial Management System,” Chambers said…. 

SA Editorial: Public schools need fiscal clarity

read … Budget battle: Nonprofit seeks financial data on Hawaii public schools

Electricity: Nobody Pays More for Less

NMP: … Hawaii has low electricity use per home but carries the nation’s highest electricity prices with average annual costs of $3,963….

Enviros: The Little People Consume too Much

read … Make the Peasants Pay

Quack! Charter Schools Have By Far The Highest Rates Of Unvaccinated Kids

CB: … Fred Birkett, principal of the Alakai O Kauai Charter School, which has 130 students, knows there is a new list on which his school is ranked No. 1 in the state, but he wishes it wasn’t.

It’s a ranking of Hawaii’s 36 charter schools, showing the percentage of students whose parents have obtained exemptions — almost all of them based on religious beliefs — allowing their kids to not be vaccinated against common childhood diseases.

Until a few weeks ago when the Department of Health released school-by-school information at Civil Beat’s request, Birkett wasn’t aware that Alakai O Kauai had the highest exemption rate at 40%.

“I don’t want to be No. 1 on that list,” said Birkett, the principal since January. “I’m new on the job. We hope to improve. This is something we’ve been working on. I’ve said (to state health officials), ‘Come on in. Take a look at it.’”

Janet Berreman is the state’s district health officer on Kauai, which in general has disturbingly high rates of nonvaccination. Two of its five charter schools are among the worst in the state.

It will be Berreman’s job to try to persuade families and school administrators to vaccinate….

Quack! Kalani retreat put up for sale

read … Charter Schools Have By Far The Highest Rates Of Unvaccinated Kids

Quack!  Anti-Sunscreen Hysteria Debunked

PS: … for a study that has been so widely embraced by conservationists, Downs' work has been received with skepticism by some members of the marine science community.

Eric Hochberg, an ecologist who studies reefs at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences, says he believes Downs' research offers weak evidence that oxybenzone is actually damaging corals because the experiment's laboratory conditions "completely lack realism." Hochberg is working on his own study that he hopes will yield what he believes will be more realistic results by placing corals in tanks with flowing water containing concentrations of oxybenzone that match those found in water samples around Bermuda.

Hochberg also points out that Downs' research team found barely detectable levels of oxybenzone in some waters tested in Hawaii. Hochberg, who got his Ph.D. in oceanography at the University of Hawaii and lived and researched in the state for 14 years, says that Hawaii's reefs were threatened by a mass bleaching event a few years ago as a result of El Niño, and he thinks such events pose a greater threat to the area than sunscreen does.

"If these chemicals were dangerous, we would see an impact already," Hochberg says. "These chemicals have been in the environment for a long time, for a decade at least, so why are there still lots of corals?"

Terry Hughes, director of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University in Australia, is also skeptical of Downs' findings. He says that laboratory experiments can be insightful when paired with field research that corroborates their conclusions. And to date, no studies have shown a harmful impact of sunscreen chemicals on corals in their natural environment, according to Hughes.

"The behavior of the sunscreen in the water when it washes off a tourist's back is a blank slate—no one has studied that," he says.

Hughes has won international awards for his work studying the impacts of climate change on coral reefs. His team used satellite data from NOAA to map the extent of bleaching measured in aerial and underwater surveys to the pattern of heat in the oceans during a global-scale bleaching event in 2015 and 2016. In each of Australia's four major bleaching events, the geological footprint of the bleaching perfectly matched where the water was hottest, Hughes says. To him, this indicates that global warming trumps all other factors: Even in areas of the ocean untouched by fishermen or farming, reefs experienced the same level of bleaching, he found.

Hughes says the three major threats to coral reefs are climate change, overfishing, and pollution from sediment runoff from land-based pollution. Sunscreen, on the other hand, is a local and relatively inconsequential issue, he says, and the main thing that needs to be done to mitigate damage to coral reefs is to reduce carbon emissions.

"I've seen online people wearing T-shirts [that say] 'Save the reef, ban sunscreens.' Those people could well be tourists who have flown to Miami for a holiday," Hughes says. "The irony there is the personal fossil fuel footprint of people is part of the problem. You can't deal with one tiny issue and tick a box to say 'problem solved.' But I think that's exactly what's happening in some places." ….

CB: Some More Anti-Sunscreen Propaganda

read … Debunk

A city proposal to give people more options to get around could mean losing some parking

KITV: … A Honolulu City Council bill wants to add car sharing around the city as another way to get around.

"For the first and last mile for those using the bus and future down the road, for rail. But also for people that wanna do grocery shopping or errands that don't have the luxury of owning a car, they could rent a car for a couple minutes, a few hours and return it back," Honolulu City Council member Brandon Elefante, said. …

It's a service that's already available with private companies like Hui Car Share but this measure would expand the service to city streets instead of just private parking lots. 
The bill limits the amount of stalls that could be taken away to two stalls per block. But commuters like Magsipoc doesn't think that's the best idea.

"Traffic is so bad and I don’t see how that would taking away from the stalls would make it more effective," Magsipoc said.

If the bill becomes law, companies would have to apply to reserve the parking spaces and pay annual fees - $1,500 for every stall. Plus a $20 parking stall sticker for each car in the fleet. 
Companies can also decide if customers will help pay those fees.  The measure will be heard by the council budget committee on Wednesday. …

read … A city proposal to give people more options to get around could mean losing some parking

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