Mayor slams Hanabusa on dump
As the city fights for a permit extension to keep Waimanalo Gulch Landfill open, Mayor Mufi Hannemann sharply criticized Senate President Colleen Hanabusa yesterday for intervening in the process without providing a viable alternative.
At a news conference yesterday, Hannemann accused Hanabusa of objecting to the extension on behalf of Ko Olina's executives and called her "irresponsible" for advocating the landfill's closure when its permit expires in May.
The state Land Use Commission will listen to arguments from Hanabusa today at a hearing on the city's request to extend the landfill's permit for another two years. The commission could have a decision as early as today or postpone it until tomorrow.
"This is all about Colleen serving the interest of the corporate development folks of Ko Olina," Hannemann said. "My plea to the state is, don't be sidetracked by the delay tactics of Colleen Hanabusa. Don't be intimidated by her scare tactics."
Hanabusa, a longtime critic of the landfill and Hannemann administration who lives in Ko Olina, could not be reached for comment yesterday afternoon.
Hanabusa has argued that the previous administration had promised the landfill's closure and that government should keep its vows. She has criticized the city for waiting until the last minute to appear in front of the relevant commissions as a tactic to keep the landfill open.
The city Planning Commission approved the permit request earlier this year, but members criticized the city administration for essentially leaving them no choice by coming to them so late.
Hannemann, in a last-minute plea to the Land Use Commission, outlined the need for the landfill by citing the recent dumping of 28 tons of tainted beef from the Department of Education.
"Were that landfill not in existence, what would we in Oahu have done?" Hannemann said. "Put it in the pristine waters of the ocean? Find a park somewhere? Feed it to the animals? My goodness, it would have been a catastrophic event."
Hannemann also noted that if the landfill were to close, the only other viable site would be elsewhere in Nanakuli, which is closer to homes and still in Hanabusa's district.