REPORT FROM THE CITY ADMINISTRATION —Mayor Peter Carlisle said he is pleased that the Hawaii Supreme Court today overturned a requirement that the City’s Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill stop accepting municipal solid waste later this year.
“No community wants a landfill in its back yard, but it’s important to understand that our island will continue to need one for the foreseeable future to handle materials that can’t be recycled, can’t be turned into energy by the H-Power plant, or that result from a natural disaster,” Carlisle said.
The state Land Use Commission had required the landfill to stop accepting waste by July 31, 2012, as a condition of approving an expansion of the landfill’s permitted size in 2008. The Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that the deadline was “inconsistent with evidence in the record and not supported by substantial evidence.” Today’s decision overturned a 2010 Circuit Court ruling that upheld the permit and the deadline, and remanded the matter to Circuit Court for further proceedings.
The landfill will continue normal operations as City attorneys review today’s decision.
“We have placed a strong emphasis on diverting waste from the landfill through recycling and expanding the H-Power plant by adding a third boiler,”Carlisle said. “We are on track to divert roughly 80 percent of the island’s municipal solid waste from the landfill.”
Today’s ruling noted that the City had testified before the Planning Commission in 2009 that identifying and developing a new landfill site would take more than seven years. The City plans to conduct an environmental analysis of potential sites before making a recommendation to the City Council.
The Council voted in 2004 to keep the landfill at Waimanalo Gulch, noting its substantial remaining capacity. That decision led to the Land Use Commission’s approval of the landfill’s expansion, along with the July 31 deadline.
Carlisle urged everyone to help protect the environment and divert waste from the landfill by remembering to “reduce, reuse and recycle.” Additional information about waste recycling and reduction is available at www.opala.org .