Your Views for March 16


Beware new bill

Senate Bill 2663 restores county permitting for geothermal plants, but, as written, it is actually a frontal attack on home rule.

Act 97, passed in 2012, did away with the County of Hawaii permitting process for future geothermal plants. Advocates of maintaining “home rule” objected because in removing the county from the permitting process, they saw the state jamming Honolulu-based decisions down community throats with disregard for community planning or vision.

Regardless of opinions about geothermal, the county needed a voice in where geothermal plants would be located and how they should be regulated.

Senate Bill 2663, introduced by state Sen. Malama Solomon, makes an effort to restore county permitting lost with passage of Act 97. However, this bill, as written, is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

While it would restore permitting, it would also prevent the county from passing ordinances concerning issues under the jurisdiction of federal and state agencies.

As Chris Yuen, former planning director, put it, “One interpretation would be that the planning commission could not impose conditions that were more stringent than those of state or federal agencies. For example, the conditions couldn’t require noise levels quieter than Department of Health rules. This wouldn’t be a good idea.”

Additionally, there is a real danger this bill could be used to overturn already passed county ordinances that prevent nighttime drilling and ban fracking.

I hope the mayor will join those of us trying to set this right.

Thomas Lee Travis

Pahoa

Dump anarchy

Full-service dumps (“transfer stations”) would go a long way toward the county’s purported goal to “reduce, reuse and recycle.”

Unfortunately, not much seems to be happening (other than a few studies and a garbage-to-energy plant, which will probably end up costing everyone hooked up to HELCO more money in the long run.)

Here’s an idea that might encourage the county to speed things up a little, and at the same time make it easier for you to do the right thing for our island’s environment.

Take all the stuff you shouldn’t — and probably wouldn’t — drop down the chute (old appliances, lumber, batteries, furniture, paint, fluorescent bulbs, electronics, other “hazardous materials” or simply unwanted items that might be of use to someone else) to the dump in your neighborhood on the days it is closed and leave them outside the gate in orderly piles.

The county workers will eventually dispose of them properly when they come to work.

However, be sure not to do it when cops are driving by or county workers are present, or to leave any incriminating info such as fingerprints or letters with your name on it. You wouldn’t want to end up like Arlo Guthrie in the song “Alice’s Restaurant” — arrested for littering.

Help put the power back where it belongs — within the conscientious people in our island paradise.

Fred Fogel

Volcano

Trash problem

Now that our elected/appointed “officials” demonstrated their expertise in figuring out what to do about the GMO fiasco — it only took them a couple of months — they are now again faced with what to do about our garbage and trash.

So far, in 15 years, they have not yet figured out a solution. Reportedly, they turned down a possible solution as they figured it was too costly. Maybe they have some insight as to what it is going to cost five years from now to clean up the present mess, and what to do with the mess that is certain to follow!

There are other islands worldwide as well as in our own state that reportedly solved the problem.

A simple telephone call just might provide a solution, rather than a costly study.

Ron Baptista

Mountain View

Traffic jams

Roadwork on Highway 130 is supposed to be finished by 3:30 p.m., but Tuesday, a half-dozen construction workers watching another shovel gravel at 5:10 p.m. caused a one-hour traffic jam.

Cars were moving one car length a minute at 4:15, all the way from the Highway 130/Highway 11 interchange union through and five minutes past the bottleneck.

Despite emails to Sen. Russell Ruderman, Mayor Billy Kenoi, Councilman Greggor Ilagan and others, there was another similar jam Wednesday, this time because a roller was still compressing asphalt for the shoulder lane at 5 p.m.

My wife’s lower back pain is being exacerbated by this, and now she must take sick time to recuperate from two days in a row of unnecessary traffic jams which caused her usual 45-minute drive to be one hour and a half.

Ted Banta

Pahoa

 

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