Gulch permit should be denied due to faulty study, Hanabusa says


POSTED: Sunday, July 05, 2009

The city's permit application to expand and extend the life of Waimanalo Gulch landfill should be denied because officials only performed a partial environmental study of its impact, state Sen. Colleen Hanabusa contends.

Her motion to dismiss—filed last week—comes after the city Planning Commission already has heard four days of testimony on the permit application in a contested case hearing brought by Hanabusa.

Both sides have laid out their case.

The city says the landfill is needed for an additional 15 years while alternative solid waste solutions are developed and implemented. Hanabusa (D, Nanakuli-Makua), who is representing the Ko Olina Community Association, argues that the city—regardless of which administration made it—needs to honor long-held promises to close the Waianae Coast facility.

All parties are facing a looming deadline of Nov. 1, when the landfill's permit expires.

The contested case hearing is scheduled to continue Wednesday, at which time the commission plans to consider the motion for dismissal.

A dismissal would likely require emergency court actions to keep the landfill open past Nov. 1.

“;The city is aware of the motion to dismiss by the intervenor,”; Tim Steinberger, city director of environmental services, said in a statement released through his office. “;Our corporation counsel are working on our response and will file on Monday.”;

Hanabusa's motion argues that an environmental impact statement, or EIS, prepared for the permit application is incomplete.

An EIS and supplemental EIS completed last year by city consultant R.M. Towill Corp. indicated there would be no significant negative impact in an expansion.

Hanabusa contends those studies only cover the 92.5 acre expansion, and do not consider the impact created by the total area of the landfill, about 200 acres, once the expansion is complete.