WITH blue waves crashing on the rocky shore, fishing boats chugging into the harbor and Diamond Head in the background, officials from the federal Environmental Protection Agency had a hard time believing they were standing on polluted land.
EPA rewards state
for Kakaako work
But the Kakaako Waterfront Park was once a city landfill and now it's a model project for the EPA's brownfields pilot program. The federal government uses that program to reward local government for turning underused industrial or commercial property into valuable real estate.
On Friday, Gov., Ben Cayetano received a check for $200,000 from the EPA for the state's work in revitalizing portions of Kakaako.
The money will be used to develop an inventory of possible future sites for redevelopment and to perform environmental assessments on the top sites.
RENEWABLE ENERGY:Rep. Hermina Morita is renewing her fight to get renewable energy considered as part of the state energy generation mix.
She would like a state law to set a specific amount of renewable energy that would have to be included by commercial energy producers.
A similar measure was killed at the last minute last year.
To start off the education and lobbying process, Morita was expected to hold a hearing this morning to listen to state consultants who are updating a statewide survey on renewable energy potential.
"We need to get a firm grip on the numbers of what is possible," Morita said.
She said "as long as oil prices are up," the bill's chances of clearing the Legislature are good.
WINNERSEnvironmentalists: After more than 15 years of stalling, a bill to add a redeemable fee to bottles and cans sold here is moving in the Legislature. It encourages recycling, although opponents say it would cost consumers $10 million more a year.
Public-school teachers: With the backing of students and other unions, an estimated 5,000 teachers crowded the state Capitol to remind lawmakers they want a raise this year.
Jurors: If the state courts get their way, the Legislature will approve a pay raise for jurors to $40 a day from $30.
LOSERSTaxpayers: Economic times are tough and some senators are thinking about raising taxes, ventured Sen. Brian Taniguchi, Ways and Means chairman. It isn't clear if Taniguchi's trial balloon has enough lift to clear legislative hurdles.
Sam Slom: Just saying no didn't help the senator last week, on the losing side of votes on minimum wage and the Hawaii Government Employees Association arbitration award. He said raising the wage would hurt small business and that the state couldn't afford the HGEA raises.
Jaywalkers: Pedestrians had better keep it on the curb or in a crosswalk. Worried about the rise in pedestrian injuries and fatalities, Rep. Joe Souki, Transportation chairman, wants to raise the jaywalking fine from $77 to $250.
This feature by Richard Borreca runs Mondays throughout the legislative session.
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