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CITY PREVAILS IN LAWSUIT REGARDING WAIMANALO GULCH LANDFILL

 

(Tues., March 30, 2010)—Mayor Mufi Hannemann today expressed his appreciation for the March 16, 2010, ruling by Circuit Court Judge Rom Trader, who granted the City's Motion for Summary Judgment (MSJ) in the lawsuit filed by Senator Colleen Hanabusa that challenged the sufficiency of the 2008 Final EIS (FEIS) prepared for the proposed expansion of the Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill.

 

“I’m pleased the Court determined that the FEIS was compiled in good faith,  meets all legal requirements, and provided decision-makers with all information necessary to decide that the landfill should be expanded,” said Hannemann. “The City takes its obligations to comply with environmental disclosure laws such as HEPA and NEPA very seriously, and so it is gratifying to know that the Court has confirmed as a matter of law that this FEIS was properly prepared and accepted.”

 

Hanabusa filed her lawsuit in December 2008, claiming that the FEIS had inadequately addressed various matters related to the landfill’s expansion. She filed her own Motion for Summary Judgment, which Judge Trader denied while granting the City’s motion.

 

Following acceptance of the FEIS on October 13, 2008, the City applied for land use approvals to expand the landfill. During the proceedings at the county Planning Commission and State Land Use Commission on these applications, Hanabusa filed Motions to Dismiss, arguing that those bodies could not act because the 2008 FEIS was inadequate. Both commissions denied her motions, agreeing with the City that under Hawaii’s EIS law, challenges of the acceptance of an EIS must be brought in court, and Hanabusa already had her pending lawsuit for that purpose. The March 16 ruling by the Circuit Court was essentially a judicial determination that Hanabusa’s claims in her lawsuit were without merit, and that the City was entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

 

The decision ends one challenge to the continued use of Oahu’s only public municipal solid waste landfill. The Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill is a vital component of the City’s integrated solid waste management program, which includes recycling, waste-to-energy, and other programs to address municipal solid waste.

 

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Media contact: Bill Brennan, Mayor’s Office, 768-6928