by Councilmember Tom Berg
The closing arguments were made yesterday regarding the contested case to extend the life of the Waimanalo Gulch Landfill by another 15-years.
As it stands today, the Planning Commission will render a decision on May 25, at 9:00 a.m. at the Mission Memorial Auditorium to either approve or deny the 15-year extension. Since there is no agenda posted yet for this event, and I do not yet know if public testimony will be taken at the May 25 meeting, please mark your calendars at this time until I can get solid confirmation to convey to you that the May 25 date is indeed in stone.
This may be the time to rally the community up and down the leeward coastline to take action; to rent buses; to make signs; and present strong objection to any decision that may carry on this broken treaty. See history - click here.
The Planning Commission should put its foot down and end the coddling of administration after administration at Honolulu Hale that has kicked the can.
Rather, what could be a wise decision would be to let the Department of Health simply take over jurisdiction of the landfill to end it once and for all. If the Planning Commission votes no to the 15-year extension as proposed, then the Department of Health would have to take immediate action and responsibility to comply with the State Land Use Commission's order - click here for more information.
KAILUA WILL NOT STAND FOR A LANDFILL
You heard it on the news recently- the elected officials that represent Kailua are already planning for battle and mobilizing their objections to using Ameron Quarry as the next site for housing Oahu's trash.
If Kailua is successful in blocking the landfill destined to be in their territory, guess who is next in line - Waianae. That's right. If Kailua gets their way, the next best site for a landfill is in the Waianae region according to the criteria/scale/factors that weighed where the next landfill should be situated. See my youtube - click here.
There needs to be in my opinion, an organized, concerted effort by the leeward coast elected officials and residents to band together and be just as cognizant as Kailua is as to what is at stake here.
I am impressed at how quickly Kailua rallied to show force, numbers, arguments, and rationale to defend their position that under no circumstances will they tolerate a landfill at the Ameron Quarry.
Friends and neighbors on the Waianae Coast, we have to rally together and do the same, if not more to champion justice and fair play.
The Landfill Site Selection Committee heard testimony loud and clear from Nanakuli Neighborhood Board member Cynthia Rezentes (our best expert in the field and most knowledgeable on this issue) that our leeward side is not conducive for situating any more landfills and she backs it up with scientific, cultural, environmental, geographical, and historical proof.
We are also fortunate to have Mel Kahele, a longtime leeward resident who has been fighting this landfill situation and can be our best ally in this battle to come.
Another resource is Kimo Kelii, a member of the Nanakuli Neighborhood Board who has the documentation, presentations, and A-to-Z background against environmental injustices to make a great case against any landfill coming to fruition on the Waianae Coast.
We have Senator Maili Shimabukuro who was of party to the contested case against expending the life of the Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill on our side. We should tap into Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa for help, who too, fought against the Waimanalo Landfill for years.
Our talent and resources to take on Kailua head-to-head are vast and our bench is deep ready to rally if called to action to make certain no new landfill comes to the leeward side.
Now, please hear out my solution. We need not have to go to battle with Kailua if my resolution 11-260 were passed. The Not In My Backyard (NIMBY) syndrome can be rendered moot if we simply spent the same amount of time, energy and resources that we do to make landfills thrive and survive, to instead make their existence obsolete.
We can make our need for a landfill obsolete by deploying the technology available worldwide that recycles H-Power (waste to energy) ash residue, and automobile shredded residue (ASR). Former city council candidates from our leeward coast- Bob McDermott and Matt LoPresti, also know of superior technology to deal with wastewater sludge to keep that out of our landfill as well and have been trying to educate City Hall to take heed.
In conclusion, we cannot expect my resolution to save the day soon enough and for Kailua to relax and fold their hand. So expect a battle to transpire over this landfill issue and if you want to join forces to find solutions, please consider getting involved.