Thursday, Nov. 30, 2023 |
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• Let your voices be heard
• Give thanks to Kaua‘i veterans
Let your voices be heard
Please permit me to correct an inaccuracy in the article “Council debates solid waste strategy” (The Garden Island, April 14). One of the controversies covered in the article centered around the Administration’s use of a past budget line item to issue a Request for Proposal for a Waste to Energy study that would cost $385,000.
That line item was not labeled for a Materials Recovery Facility; it was labeled for “Waste Reduction Consultants.”
Administrative Assistant Gary Heu has confirmed that the proposed $385,000 study is WTE-related. He said the study came out of the Administration’s desire to “do our due diligence” in studying WTE because WTE was one of the alternatives mentioned in the draft solid waste plan.
This would have been fine if the Administration had specifically proposed, and the Council had approved, monies for that use. To my knowledge, this did not happen.
That is why Councilmember Bynum cannot remember voting to spend the money on WTE. When I voted to include these monies for Waste Reduction Consultants, I envisioned consultants to help us design a MRF or develop our curbside recycling program.
Ever since the County Council passed a resolution in 2003 requesting the Administration to update the County’s 1994 Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan, it has been the Council’s stand that WTE should be one of the strategies considered, but the county should not spend money on a WTE strategy until the county’s solid waste plan was approved, and only if WTE was a priority of the plan.
We even restricted another budget line item labeled, “Solid Waste Programs” by prohibiting those monies from being used for WTE until we had an approved Solid Waste Plan in place. We wanted to avoid what recently happened to the Big Island where the county spent $2 million going down the “WTE track” only to find that WTE was not feasible for them.
We, the County Council, expected that through the county’s Solid Waste Plan process, the county, with its citizens, would evaluate the various solid waste strategies based on feasibility and cost-effectiveness and make the policy decisions as to which strategies the county would pursue to manage our solid waste.
The horror of the present situation is that the Administration has taken almost six years to do the Solid Waste Plan (still not done), and time and garbage keep marching on. Without a good solid waste plan, timely completed, the county is faced with all kinds of problems and additional costs to the taxpayer (same thing with landfill siting).
One of the problems is what to do in the meantime.
Yes, we have been trying to implement strategies even though we haven’t made a decision about what strategies to implement. This is impossible and costly — all because we don’t have a plan and we don’t know where we are going.
There are a lot of things that could be studied as part of due diligence, including a market study for recyclables, a design study for curbside recycling, a fee study for a Pay As You Throw system (which is one of the keys to making curbside recycling work), the siting and design of a MRF, all for which there is a much greater consensus in the community than for WTE.
The problem is that the Administration has made its own decision to pursue WTE without getting proper council concurrence and without having a community-wide discussion on the policy choices facing us.
Thankfully, the $385,000 has not been encumbered and can be used instead for what the Council deems the highest solid waste priorities in the upcoming budget.
If you want the county to adopt and budget for “Zero Waste” or “Maximum Reduce, Re-use and Recycle” as the key solid waste strategy for the county, please let your voices be heard at the public hearing on the budget on at 5 p.m., May 6, in the Council Chambers.
This is not about blame or campaigns. This is about accountability — and providing a sustainable future for our island.
JoAnn Yukimura, Lihu‘e
Give thanks to Kaua‘i veterans
With reference to John Moseley’s letter (“On the Eternal Memorial,” Letters, April 13), I take umbrage with his remark that Kaua‘i has become a target just as Pearl Harbor was on Dec. 7, 1941.
The “Barking Sands complex” is certainly not a military base (as was Pearl Harbor), in that the civilian personnel far outnumber the military, and whose task is testing and evaluation of systems to better protect and defend all of us here in the United States.
As it has been said many times in the past, it was the military that gave us the right to speak our piece in the press, choose our own religions and many other freedoms which we all enjoy. It would be interesting if you, and any others, could travel to Iran or North Korea and personally ask them to “stop the folly” of their nuclear intentions.
Whenever you see a Kaua‘i veteran, be sure to thank him (or her) for their contribution to our safety and well-being.
Joe Stoddard, Kapa‘a
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