Monday, September 16, 2013

Molasses heading to sea, early campaigners seek state, county seats, waste-to-energy progressing on Maui, Kauai grapples with transient vacation rental rules, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

KHON2 screen shot
Molasses spill in Honolulu Harbor, KHON2 screen capture
An elite Coast Guard team that responds to oil and hazardous-material spills has been dispatched to Hawaii to offer its expertise in the response and cleanup of the 233,000-gallon molasses spill reported a week ago in Hono­lulu Harbor, U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz announced Sunday. Schatz described the Pacific Strike Team, which is part of the Coast Guard’s National Strike Force, as the “cream of the crop.” Star-Advertiser.

Department of Health officials expressed pleasant surprise Saturday that Matson Inc.’s estimated 233,000-gallon molasses spill in Honolulu Harbor last week seems to be dissipating faster than predicted. Peering down at the dark blue water from aboard a boat Saturday, the state’s environmental health chief said it was looking good. Star-Advertiser.

A week after thousands of gallons of molasses spilled into Honolulu Harbor, the plume continues to wipe out marine life and hover close to shore. As the state determines whether to move from response to recovery mode, KHON2 took an aerial tour that showed we’re not out of the woods just yet.

Hawaii U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz says more than just a pipe failed when 1,400 tons of molasses spilled into Honolulu Harbor last week. Schatz says it's clear lawmakers have to look at how the system run by Matson Navigation Co. is regulated by federal and state officials. Associated Press.

A faulty pipe with a hole about the size of a fist was found at the end of Matson's barge at Honolulu Harbor on Horizons side. The pipe, Matson says, was not supposed to be in use at the time of the spill. Investigators are still trying to figure out how molasses got there. KITV.

On Saturday, a gaggle of cameramen and reporters boarded a tug boat at Pier 9 behind Aloha Tower to go on a tour of what's being called the largest marine disaster in the state’s history — a massive molasses spill in Honolulu Harbor. Civil Beat.

The molasses spill in Honolulu Harbor that has already caused the death of thousands of fish is now confirmed to be the cause of mass coral bleaching and death as well. Robert Richmond, University of Hawaii marine biology professor and director of Kewalo Marine Laboratory, told reporters that evidence of coral death was present not only within the harbor but also in the waters beyond it. HuffPost Hawaii.

Hawaii Pacific University’s Marine Mammal Stranding Program may no longer be able to pick up as many dead whale and dolphin carcasses from the beach because of federal budget cuts. The program lost $100,000 in federal grant funding, or two-thirds of its operating budget. Associated Press.

Hawaii Supreme Court Justice Simeon Acoba was recently selected to receive the Ninth Annual Dwight D. Opperman Award for Judicial Excellence from the American Judicature Society. Garden Island.

At Civil Beat we recently received a visit by several pro-GMO and pro-pesticide farmers. They argued that pesticides and GMOs are tools that farmers in Hawaii need to be competitive.

State roundup for September 16. Associated Press.

Oahu

The University of Hawaii’s flagship Manoa campus dropped two spots on this year’s U.S. News & World Report list of best colleges published last week. UH-Manoa ranks as the 158th-best school in the nation out of 201 rated public and private universities. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu Police Department pays hundreds of thousands of overtime for motorcades when dignitaries come to town. Civil Beat.

The Navy is placing a $10 million order for work to replace a 24-inch underwater waterline crossing Pearl Harbor. Associated Press.

A 2012 competition for a state House of Representatives seat was marked by negative mailers from a conservative Christian group. Now, Marilyn Lee is seeking to win her District 36 seat (Mililani Mauka, Mililani) back, criticizing her GOP opponent as out of touch. Civil Beat.

Rights clash amid dispute over mural. Native Hawaiians are entitled to control their identity, while federal law protects artists’ work from alteration. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

A contract to develop a 50-megawatt geothermal project on the Big Island, which some say could cost up to $200 million, is expected to be awarded soon by Hawaii Electric Light Co., Pacific Business News has learned.

Kohala residents will have a new option starting Saturday when they want to fly to Maui or Oahu. That’s when Mokulele Airlines’ new service from the Waimea-Kohala Airport begins. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Waste, energy plant proposal to come before council shortly. Mayor Alan Arakawa's administration is finalizing negotiations with California-based Anaergia Services for the proposed Central Maui waste-to-energy plant, county officials said Tuesday. Maui News.

Former Maui County Council Members Danny Mateo, Mike Molina and Joe Pontanilla are considering campaigns next year to reclaim council seats they relinquished because of term limits. Maui News.

A Public Utilities Commission investigative proceeding on the feasibility of an undersea power cable between Maui and Oahu has drawn comments and interventions from Maui County, environmental groups and developers seeking the job of laying a high-voltage cable 112 miles long and as deep as 2,100 feet. Maui News.

An early morning siren malfunction on Maui and Molokai was caused by a mechanical issue related to a recent upgrade of the siren warning system, officials with the Maui County Civil Defense Agency announced this afternoon. Maui Now.

The Maui Department of Water Supply announced the two-day shutdown its Kamole Water Treatment Plant on Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 16 and 17, 2013.The shutdown is being implemented as contractors work on the final phases of a capital improvement project ensure reliability during times of drought, and save on electrical costs. Maui Now.

Kauai

Twelve percent of transient vacation rentals on file on Kauai have appealed a denial for a permit-renewal. Currently, 10 percent of the island’s TVR inventory is assigned to a contested case hearing, and this number could increase as more appeals are sent to a hearings officer. Garden Island.

A Kilauea resident says he was exposed to pesticides while driving with his windows down as he passed a DuPont Pioneer agricultural field in Lihue Wednesday morning. Garden Island.