Letters for Friday, May 4, 2012

Hanalei River cleaner than before?“Keeping Kaua‘i pristine”Worthy friends?KIUC needs clarity about smart meters

Hanalei River cleaner than before?

The “chicken little the sky is falling” and “conspiracy theories” approach that Terry Lilley has taken with respect to the sediment at the mouth of the Hanalei River highlight the case that this self-proclaimed “marine biologist” has no academic credentials, no scientific experience, and chooses to hide from the public that there have been extensive studies of the coral reefs and pollutants in the water, sediment, and tissues of fish, claims, and crabs from all along the Hanalei River. His mud samples were cleaner than those tested and reported earlier and well below U.S. EPA toxicity levels of ecological concern.

The U.S. Geological Service tested for a wide range of organic compounds (herbicides, pesticides) and elements (metals) and published a complete report back in 2006.

More recently (2010) a group of scientist from Stanford University published a paper on agricultural pesticide concentrations in water on the north shore of Kauai.

The important results in both of these independent studies are that they found only extremely low levels of contaminants.

In the USGS study, concentrations of the organic contaminants and elements generally “were below U.S. Environmental Protection Agency probable adverse effects levels for aquatic organisms”.

Chromium in the sediments was above the PEL. Concentrations of arsenic and other toxic metals In Hanalei stream bed sediments “were indicative of natural concentrations in fresh and estuarine waters of Hawai’i”.

Samples from way upstream in the Hanalei River, above all agriculture and urbanization, had elements that naturally come from the lava, rocks and soil that form the island

In the Stanford study, only Metribuzin (an herbicide used on lawns) was found, in only a few samples, and at concentrations “several orders of magnitude” meaning greater than 100 times “below levels reported to be to toxic aquatic plants or algae”. They did find caffeine in waters below urbanization, suggestive of sewage contamination.

Over thousands of years the Hanalei River has been eroding its banks and moving north towards the cliffs. Stream bank erosion and landslides contribute massive amounts of sediment to the river.

The fresh water and sediment kills the corals that live in the estuary and scour the deep channel along the reef.

Long-term residents of Hanalei remember times both when the river was wide and clean and, in more recent decades, when sandbars were extensive and closed off the mouth such that it had to excavated. With global climate change we can expect many more extreme weather events, like we experienced in March, which will forever alter the estuary and coral reefs of Hanalei.

Scientists from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa have been studying the reefs, quantitatively monitoring corals and fish populations for 20 years.

Surfrider Foundation is monitoring the nutrients, bacteria, and pH of the streams along Hanalei Bay.

Hanalei Bay is one of the best studied tropical estuaries, but we do need to be vigilant about degradation from poor land use practices.

Projects have been done by local scientists and engineers to reduce sediment, bacteria, and nutrient pollution entering the bay.

More needs to be done.

Carl J. Berg, Ph. D., Lihu‘e

“Keeping Kaua‘i pristine”

Why did you think the Go-Kart was abandoned? Someone went to the trouble of making it and taking it out there to have fun. We were camping there and watching them having fun with it, but the flat tire put an end to it.

I and two young boys that drove up with their parents even helped him push it out of the sand late Sunday afternoon. And then it sat there until they were ready to load up their trailer.

And since you were so concerned about it, did you ask anyone there if it was theirs and if you could help?

Or did you consider that possibly someone had to walk way back along the beach to get help?

Where is your aloha?

You say you would of put it in your truck if you had room, so if you were concerned enough to write a letter and thought it was that much of an eye sore why didn’t you go back out there to get it? Then you would have seen that it was gone, because they loaded it in the trailer and took it with them late Sunday night.

Karen Tangelder, Kapa‘a

Worthy friends?

Washington D.C. contributed over $115 billion in financial aid to Israel over 64 years, which averages out to about $4.9 million a day.

Published by the Congressional Research Service, a recent report shows that Israel has received more aid from the U.S. than 15 European countries did over the years. It’s amazing to note that over 67 billion dollars of your tax money has been focused on supplying military equipment to Israel. Also, the report reveals that the U.S. has allocated $3.1 billion, around one-fifth of its defense budget, to Israel in the last year alone. So why don’t you know this?

As a news item it is intentionally ignored. An enormous elephant seated squarely in the capitol. It’s off limits. Just the political speech alone on the subject often arouses a hounding mostly with an over-worked, worn-thin “anti-Semite” label. I am no such thing.

Research AIPAC to find the most covert, under-reported political riptide American politics finds itself in. You have no idea how broad and deep the current has become. Do not take my word. Do the research yourself.

Remember, we are here in this time, in these circumstances, by design of the powerful and influential in concert behind veils if not closed doors entirely. At the same time we are conditioned that Americans are born free. But then, through an artful web of “legal” deceit, trickery, word games and constructive frauds, we find an enslavement to, among other things, endlessly streaming war profiteers.

If you love it, that’s your prerogative.

The irony here is that we “choose” slavery by an unquestioning acceptance of government.

Our laws, licenses, numbers and status as “citizens” are curbed increasingly today by an ever shrinking globe and the “closest friendship” we keep. Close friends of dual citizenship, conflicted interest, organized as a strong hand at the helm of US Government itself.

Are these friends still worth having?

Rolf Bieber, Kapa‘a

KIUC needs clarity about smart meters

Two brochures sent by KIUC to inform its customers about how smart meters will serve them better include “time-of-use rates” among its initiatives. This means a unit of electricity used at times of islandwide high usage will cost more than the same unit used when overall usage is low.

But in The Garden Island article headlined “KIUC board to consider smart meter opt-out plan” on April 24, Mr. Ken Taylor “expressed concerns about a new rate structure following the smart meter rollout,” and, quoting the article, KIUC CEO David Bissell said “there are no plans for that.”

So which is it?

Time-of-use rating is one of the foundational mechanisms of the advertised Advanced Metering Infrastructure Technology. If implemented it will disadvantage some households that are less able to adjust their electricity usage schedules in favor of other households that have more flexibility.

Larger households with children and work-sleep schedules requiring them to cook, bathe, wash clothes, turn on lights, TVs and computers at 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and at 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. will over time, despite their best efforts, pay relatively more for electricity generation.

Smaller households with more compatible or no (retired) work schedules will more easily gravitate usage to off peak hours, and pay relatively less.

KIUC needs to be forthcoming, before the rollout, not after, about whether time-of-use rating is or is not to be imposed on ratepayers.

Kip Goodwin, Kapa‘a

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