City fights challenge to plans for landfill


POSTED: Wednesday, July 08, 2009

An attempt to throw out a permit application to expand and extend Waimanalo Gulch Landfill is “;specious”; and “;without basis,”; attorneys for the city said in response to the challenge.

Sen. Colleen Hanabusa filed a motion last week seeking to have the city's permit application dismissed on the basis that only a partial environmental study of the potential impact was performed.

The motion is expected to be considered by the Planning Commission today, as Hanabusa's contested-case hearing on the permit continues.

Attorneys for the city Department of Environmental Services contend Hanabusa's motion “;is quite simply, specious, as it is redundant and without basis, and serves to further delay resolution of (the department's) application for the land use approvals necessary to expand the only permitted municipal solid waste landfill on Oahu.”;

A dismissal of the application would likely force the city to go to court to keep the landfill open past Nov. 1.

Hanabusa contends that an environmental impact study completed last year is incomplete because it only covers the 92.5-acre expansion and does not consider the impact created by the total area of the landfill, about 200 acres, once the expansion is complete.

The city says the environmental impact statement “;absolutely does address the entire project,”; arguing it was “;reasonable and appropriate”; to focus on the expansion area.