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MAYOR VETOES BILL 37 ON WAIMANALO GULCH LANDFILL
Mayor Mufi Hannemann today vetoed Bill 37 (2005), CD2, which would have required the City to close its Waimanalo Gulch landfill in Leeward Oahu by May 1, 2008.
“It is with a heavy heart that I veto Bill 37,” said Hannemann. “Over the past year we had looked at every possible angle and option to close the landfill in the near future, for it is my belief that the whole
“But the reality is, we cannot shut it down without a replacement in sight. Even if a new location were identified today, it would take more than five years to obtain the necessary permits to open a landfill there,” the mayor said.
“Under these conditions, enactment of this bill would cripple the City’s ability to carry out our municipal solid waste disposal obligations. It could, quite literally, leave us choking on our own garbage. Therefore, with my veto action, I am reaffirming the decision the City Council made in December of 2004.”
In December 2004, under pressure from the state Land Use Commission, the City Council adopted a resolution selecting Waimanalo Gulch as the City’s “new landfill site” after May 1, 2008. The resolution cited six primary reasons why Waimanalo Gulch was chosen, including 15 additional years of landfill capacity, the fact that it is owned by the City and would be least expensive to develop and maintain as a landfill.
“The Council’s passage of Bill 37 just 14 months later placed the City in an impossible position, especially since the Council failed to recommend an alternative site,” Hannemann said.
He said shipping
Environmental Services Director Eric Takamura noted that former mayor Jeremy Harris publicly promised he would shut the landfill down by 2008 but never took the steps to do so because he also signed a 15-year contractor extension with Waste Management of Hawaii to operate the landfill. “That action only contributed to the perception that the
Recognizing that, Mayor Hannemann’s administration reexamined dozens of possible alternate sites that had been previously identified and dismissed, including the Ameron Quarry in Kapaa and even
Therefore, Hannemann said his administration will continue its efforts to address community and regulatory concerns with the Waimanalo Gulch landfill and continue to work on reducing
He also announced that Waste Management of Hawaii, which operates the Waimanalo Gulch landfill under contract with the City, will continue to build upon the improvements made ever since his administration took office, including, but not limited to, reducing leachate levels and odors, improved grading, reducing litter and better record-keeping. Furthermore, Waste Management has committed to:
In addition, Hannemann said he plans to establish a citizens advisory board consisting of residents from Honokai Hale to Makaha that will work directly with Waste Management to better address the needs and concerns of
Environmental Services Director Takamura added, “Residents should make every effort to visit the landfill site and take a tour to see it for themselves.”
Takamura added, “We will need a landfill into the foreseeable future, but we can do our best to reduce our dependence on Waimanalo Gulch, with our greencycling program of recycling. And, as the mayor said last week, we’re partnering with Hawaiian Electric to explore new, alternative energy technologies fueled by municipal solid waste.
“At this point, there appears to be no magic bullet to solve our refuse issues in the short term,” Takamura said.
The mayor called on the Council to “work with the administration to deal with the solid waste disposal challenge for the benefit of all our constituents.”
Hannemann had until March 2 to veto Bill 37 or let it become law without his signature.
Now that he has vetoed it, according to the City Charter, the Council may vote on the veto after five days and within 30 days. Six votes would be needed to override the veto. The Council passed the bill on a 7-2 vote.
The mayor added that if the Council votes to override his veto, it should be prepared to meet the conditions of the state Land Use Commission order and immediately select a new landfill site.
Bill Brennan, 527-6928
Mark Matsunaga, 527-5767
|Tuesday, February 28, 2006|