NEW & NOTEWORTHY: Irradiator, Streams, Exemption Lists

posted in: August 2010, Water | 0
Another Setback for Irradiator: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has sided with a citizens’ group in Honolulu, determining that the public should have the opportunity to comment on a revised environmental assessment for the fruit irradiation facility proposed by Pa`ina Hawai`i, LLC. The irradiator, which would use Cobalt-60 to treat Hawai`i-grown fruit for export, had been proposed for land at Honolulu International Airport. Earlier this year, Pa`ina Hawai`i had suggested other sites be considered as well.
The commission also agreed with Concerned Citizens of Honolulu that NRC staff violated the National Environmental Policy Act by not including in its environmental assessment consideration of alternative means of meeting export quarantine requirements, including electron-beam irradiation, which has been used for the last decade on Hawai`i island.

In a ruling that pretty much was a wipeout for Pa`ina Hawai`i, the NRC upheld a decision by the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) that criticized NRC staff for not looking at alternative sites.

Finally, it ordered the ASLB to rule on Concerned Citizens’ claim that NRC staff illegally ignored risks to public health and safety that could occur from accidents involving transportation of the Cobalt-60 sources. On July 16, the ASLB ordered such an analysis to be included in the revised EA.

To read the order: NRC Order re Pa`ina Hawai`i

Na Wai `Eha Appeal: The state Commission on Water Resource Management has been put on notice that its decision in the case involving Na Wai `Eha (four central Maui streams) will be appealed. Hui o Na Wai ‘Eha and Maui Tomorrow Foundation, the two groups that had sought substantial restoration of stream flows, are being represented by Earthjustice attorney Isaac Moriwake.

“The commission failed the public trust and violated the Hawai`i Constitution and Water Code, and we look forward to our day in court,” Irene Bowie, executive director of Maui Tomorrow, said in a press release announcing the appeal.

The decision was the subject of extensive reporting in last month’s issue of Environment Hawai`i.

Coincidence? DLNR Submits Exemption Lists: One month after our report on its exemption list debacle (see the June issue ofEnvironment Hawai`i), the state Department of Land and Natural Resources has submitted to the state Office of Environmental Quality Control proposed exemption lists for its Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR), Division of State Parks, Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW), Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation, as well as a department-wide list.

DAR’s proposed list appears to exempt every type of permit and license issued by the division. The list under Exemption Class #10, regarding administrative activities, would exempt everything from special activity permits to live rock and coral collecting permits, and all permits for the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, a fact that has not escaped the notice of local environmental groups, according to Marti Townsend, program director for KAHEA: the Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance, which is suing the DLNR for its handling of those permits. She says she is working on a response to the proposed lists for DAR and the DLNR, but is not sure whether the state Environmental Council will even meet to approve it. The council, in protest of the current administration’s lack of logistical and financial support, has not met since last summer. The term of its last chair, Gail Grabowski, ended June 30.

DOFAW’s list is a bit more focused, and proposes, among other things, increasing the acreage of exempt management-related fencing from 10 acres to 100 acres/two miles, and research-related fencing from one acre to 10 acres. The list would also exempt invasive species control using traps, toxicants, herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides, as well as the installation of monitoring equipment to measure environmental factors, including weather and water quality.

The online version of the July 8 OEQC Environmental Notice includes links to the proposed exemption lists:


Volume 21, Number 2 — August 2010


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