October 2003 Home   Newsletters

December 2003

February 2004

Rail Transit and the League of Women Voters (Pearl Johnson)
December Meeting Speakers
LWV of Honolulu Transportation Position
Sludge Digestor Needed at Sand Island (Jackie Parnell)
Welcome New Members


Testimony at City Council

As noted in last month's Aloha Voter, League testified in support of the proposed In-Vessel Bioconversion Facility at Sand Island in September. Action on this project was deferred until December 3 when we will testify again. It is interesting how a worthwhile project that is beneficial to the community and the environment can be stalled because certain Council members decide to make it a political issue. Opponents are demanding a full environmental impact statement, not because that will provide any new information but as a way to delay and hopefully, kill the project.

An environmental assessment has been completed for the proposed digester. It indicated that there will be no significant environmental impact. Unfortunately, there is some notion that an environmental assessment is per se inferior to an environmental impact statement. This is not true. The purpose of an environmental assessment is to determine whether or not there are significant environmental impacts. If there are, an EIS is prepared. If not, a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) is issued.

If an environmental assessment were done "quick and dirty" it would make sense to call for an EIS. But that rarely happens in Honolulu because the permitting agency will not accept the draft assessment as final unless it is thorough. There is no need for an EIS in this case. There will still be no significant environmental impacts, it will just delay the project and cost more. Note that both EPA and the Department of Health support the project.

We also testified against another bill in September. This was Bill 50 that would have permitted advertising on the sides of buses. Boo! Hiss! Fortunately good sense prevailed and the bill is now dead.

Jackie Parnell

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