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Environment Hawai`i T-Shirts

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With the holiday season just around the corner, Environment Hawai`i has produced some beautiful organic cotton t-shirts featuring a drawing of the endangered Alala (Hawaiian crow) that noted cartoonist John Pritchett did for one of our early issues. The shirts are available in S, M, L, and XL for $20 apiece. Shipping and handling costs are $7. The shirts can also be picked up at our Hilo office: 190 Keawe Street, Suite 29. To order, call our toll-free number: 1-877-934-0130.

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SUMMARY OF CURRENT ISSUES

October 2014

Grid Unlock?


The number of ways to help the Hawaiian Electric utilities reliably and cost-effectively incorporate more renewable energy into their grids seems to be growing by the minute, as do the options for those wanting to leave the grid altogether.

But the exact path taken depends largely on what the state Public Utilities Commission decides regarding the utilities’ own proposals. Already those have been criticized as delaying the integration of renewable sources into their grids and penalizing customers who already have photovoltaic systems.

Will the PUC let Hawaiian Electric continue to dominate Hawai`i’s energy landscape or open the door to other alternatives?

At this point, it’s anyone’s guess.

Also in this issue:

  • Appeal for Setback Change Denied for 'Pepe`ekeo Palace'

  • Board Talk: Sand Island Homeless Camp, Kaua`i Beach Encroachments

  • State High Court Grants Request for Hearing on Haleakala Master Plan

  • Fight Over `Ewa Project Continues as Limu Gatherer Sues Land Board

  • Parker Ranch CEO Details Reasons to Leave HELCO Grid

  • Advisor Outlines Impacts of Pumped Storage in West Kaua`i





September 2014

Justice Delayed…


When it comes to the arcana of American jurisprudence, the cases alleging Central American worker injury as a result of DBCP exposure provide a good introduction. There you will find such unusual tactics as impleadings, claims of forum non conveniens and even the rarely seen writ of coram nobis.

What you won’t see is much, if any, argument on the merits of the workers’ claims.

One case still being litigated in Hawai`i courts offers residents here a front-row seat into the legal tactics that have been employed to prevent the workers from having their day in court. Whether it meets the same fate as dozens of others will depend on the outcome of the state Supreme Court hearing this month.


ALSO IN THIS ISSUE

New & Noteworthy: Kealakehe, Little Fire Ant

Wespac to Discipline Itself Over Turtle Delisting Petition

Storm Puts To Rest Debate Over Threat of Albizia

Hawai`i Plaintiffs Await Action On Claim of Injury From DBCP

30 Years of Litigation, But Only One Jury Trial

Board Talk: Sex Trafficking Victims May Use Old School; TMT Appeal Denied; North Shore Seawalls; and More

Old Agreements Confound Ban On Hotel Use of Waikiki Beach




August 2014

Fishy Science


Best available science – science uncorrupted by overweening economic objectives or political interests. That’s the kind of science that is supposed to guide the nation’s fishery management councils as they advise the federal agencies that ultimately decide such important issues as catch limits or allowable takes of rare and endangered species.

Yet, as our reports on the latest meeting of the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council document, that’s not happening. Science has taken a back seat and economics is the driver.

Also in this issue:

A review of Hawai`i mariculture operations, past and future: In this article, we look at projects proposed by Blue Ocean Mariculture, Randy Cates, and Kampachi Farms.

Vitousek Conference highlights: Editor Patricia Tummons reports on the latest research on montane soils, dryland agriculture, and the wekiu bug presented at the annual gathering of environmental researchers in Hawai`i.

Board Talk: Our regular wrap-up of actions of the Board of Land and Natural Resources includes a look at recent transfers of land to the state Agribusiness Development Corporation, the new Thirty-Meter-Telescope sublease for Mauna Kea, and the new crop of Land Board members.




July 2014

Judgment Days


In this issue – the first in our 25th year of publishing! – we review cases of recent environmental litigation. Our cover story discusses the critically important decision of a federal judge in a case involving the discharge of wastewater into injection wells near the Lahaina coast, while a sidebar looks at the potential consequences this could have for Hawai`i County.

Other litigation reviewed in this article concerns:

The ATST on Haleakala: Kilakila o Haleakala, the group opposed to the construction of the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope (now known as the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope) had appealed to the Intermediate Court of Appeals a lower court ruling that rejected its challenge of the acceptance by the Board of Land and Natural Resources of an environmental assessment for the Haleakala Management Plan prepared by the University of Hawai`i. The ICA upheld the lower court ruling.

The TMT on Mauna Kea: Six petitioners involved in a contested-case hearing over a Conservation District permit for the Thirty-Meter Telescope planned for Mauna Kea have appealed a lower-court ruling to the ICA. In a decision issued in May, Judge Greg K. Nakamura of the 3rd Circuit Court upheld the Land Board’s award of the permit for the construction of the TMT.

Waimanalo Gulch EIS: As a state senator, Colleen Hanabusa brought a lawsuit against the City and County of Honolulu, challenging the environmental impact statement prepared for the expanded operation of Waimanalo Gulch landfill, O`ahu’s only permitted sanitary landfill. A lower court judge rejected her appeal, as did the ICA in a ruling issued May 30.

Federal Panel Mulls `Aina Le`a Dispute: A panel of the 9th U.S. Court of Appeals heard arguments from the state and from the developers concerning the state’s appeal of federal Judge Susan Oki Mollway’s denial of the state’s request to give members of the Land Use Commission immunity from damage claims by the developers in a litigation still pending in lower courts.

Pflueger, Again! Jimmy Pflueger refused to sign documents that would give kuleana landowners in Pila`a, Kaua`i, access rights assured in prior court rulings. Despite a series of decisions against him going all the way to the state Supreme Court, Pflueger’s attorneys argued before the ICA that some aspects of the case were still ripe for argument. The ICA was having none of it and rejected Pflueger’s appeal.

Waikiki Setback Appeal Heads to Supreme Court: Groups opposed to the decision by the Honolulu planning director to allow a new wing of the Moana Surfrider hotel to encroach on shoreline setbacks and height limits are going straight to the state Supreme Court in their appeal of a lower court ruling.

Also in this issue, we report on the latest efforts of Big Island developer Scott Watson to win approvals for his “Pepe`ekeo Palace” and wrap up the issue with our regular “Board Talk” column.




June 2014

Legislature Balks at Biosecurity Bills,
But Boosts Funds for Invasive Species


Foreign arrivals are up!

The same phrase that gladdens the heart of the visitor industry arouses dread in the hearts of the officials charged with keeping Hawai`i’s environment and important crops safe from marauding invaders. Consider:

The coconut rhinocerous beetle. This native of India has devastated palm trees across the South Pacific and, with its arrival in Hawai`i last winter, could do the same here. Federal and state agencies, as well as the Army, are sparing no expense to keep it from gaining a foothold here.

The macadamia felted coccid: No one knows exactly how it got here from its home in Queensland, but it is now damaging even the most mature, established macadamia orchards on the Big Island.

Little fire ant, coqui frog, albizia trees – the list goes on and on.

The destructive critters and little-shop-of-horror plants seem to arrive as fast as the airlines and ships can bring them in. The state’s quarantine defenses are stuck, meanwhile, with a budget that would have been inadequate in the horse-and-buggy era.

As our cover article shows, the Legislature’s $5 million appropriation to address invasive species is better than it’s been in years’ past, but – in the face of actual threats – not nearly sufficient.

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE

  • New & Noteworthy: Lost Refuges; TMT Judgment


  • State Supreme Court, Federal Appeals Court Schedule Hearings Over `Aina Le`a Disputes


  • Funds to Fight Little Fire Ant Lose Out in Waning Days of Session


  • And the Winner is? The Felted Coccid?


  • Bill Requiring ‘No Net Loss’ of Areas For Game Hunting Fails to Win Passage


  • State Land Board Grapples with Threat of Coastal Erosion to Infrastructure, Homes


  • Malama Solomon Makes Headlines Again for Land Use Infractions






May 2014

Hawai`i Longliners’ Appetite for Bigeye
Only Grows as International Quotas Shrink



Greed is good. That, anyway, was the mantra of the Wall Street anti-hero.

But it serves just as well the owners of the Hawai`i longline fishing fleet and their personal civil servant, Kitty Simonds. Not content to accept the miserly (in their eyes) quota of Western Pacific bigeye tuna allocated to them, they have won an amendment to fishing rules that lets them almost double their annual haul. And were that not enough, they are setting their sights now on bigeye in the Eastern Pacific where stocks, though relatively healthy now, cannot take any further fishing pressure.

Simonds, as executive director of the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council, has stepped-up efforts to turn this federally funded agency into a private club and to treat observers as trespassers. Those efforts have reached a point where her dismissal is more than warranted and this month’s editorial calls for just that. If secret meetings and destruction of government records are not enough to get her handlers at the National Marine Fisheries’ Service to take action, then what the heck will it take to set them in motion?

But there’s more than fish in this month’s wrapper. Our “Board Talk” column looks at a wide range of issues tackled by the Board of Land and Natural Resources in recent weeks. And our write-up of Carla D’Antonio’s recent work should give folks who want to understand the mechanisms of ecosystem invasions a lot to think about

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