State roundup for July 22
Navy invests in wave energy
HONOLULU (AP) — The University of Hawaii says the U.S. Navy is investing $9 million more in a Kaneohe wave energy development project.
The university said Monday the funds will help the Manoa campus’ Hawaii Natural Energy Institute conduct additional underwater surveys with its partner Sea Engineering Inc.
The funds will also benefit divers and remotely operated underwater vehicles.
Kaneohe is expected to become the first wave energy test site in the nation to connect to an active power grid.
The Navy began testing wave energy devices in Kaneohe Bay several years ago with a test berth in about 100 feet of water. This year the Navy plans to establish two additional test berths at depths of about 200 feet and 260 feet.
$50K sought to defend GMO
LIHUE, Kauai (AP) — Kauai’s county attorney has asked the county council for more money to defend a new law regulating genetically engineered crops and pesticides.
The county attorney is seeking $50,000 to pay private attorneys defending it against a federal lawsuit filed by seed companies.
The companies argue the ordinance is invalid and arbitrarily targets their industry with “burdensome and baseless” restrictions on farming operations by attempting to regulate activities over which counties have no jurisdiction.
Syngenta, DuPont Pioneer and Agrigenetics Inc., a unit of Dow AgroSciences, filed the lawsuit in January. BASF joined the complaint a month later. The new law requires the companies to disclose their use of pesticides and genetically modified crops. It also requires them to establish buffer zones around sensitive areas, including schools and hospitals.
A federal judge in Honolulu on Wednesday is expected to hear evidence on whether the lawsuit should continue.
Floods damage homes on Oahu
HAUULA, Oahu (AP) — Remnants of a broken-up tropical storm brought rainy weather over the weekend, flooding windward Oahu homes.
Water rose about 13 inches inside Holly Smith’s Hauula home, causing about $100,000 in damages.
“It was actually bubbling up through the termite holes, so it was up under the foundation of the house, coming in through the walls of the house,” Smith said.
Honolulu fire officials received 13 flood calls in 36 hours, Capt. David Jenkins said.
Jenkins said firefighters had to rescue a woman and her son after their vehicle was flooded. Windward Oahu got most of the rains left over from a dissipated storm, about one foot over 24 hours, weather officials said.
Over the same period, parts of Maui and the Big Island got 3 inches.
Lightning damaged equipment at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory on the Big Island on Saturday night and prompted the closure of a Kauai landfill, National Weather Service officials said.
“It came off the mountain so hard and so fast that it got everybody by surprise,” Smith said. “The water was 5 feet deep out in the middle of the street in front of my house. There was just no way to stop it.”
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