POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, May 3, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 1:43 a.m. HST, May 3, 2011
A City Council panel has advanced a measure to amend the city's consumer fireworks ban to allow for storage on Oahu of items that can be legally sold on neighbor islands.
The Council's Executive Matters and Legal Affairs Committee advanced the bill yesterday over the objections of the city administration and the Honolulu Fire and Police departments. "We feel fireworks are inherently dangerous in our community," Assistant Fire Chief Manny Neves said.
Councilman Stanley Chang said he introduced Bill 38 (10) at the request of a constituent to permit storage and to address issues raised in a recent lawsuit against the city.
The city's fireworks ban, which took effect this year, prohibits importing, storing, selling, offering for sale or keeping consumer fireworks except for firecrackers. Companies that sell fireworks on neighbor islands, where they are legal, are barred from storing products on Oahu.
American Promotional Events Inc.-Northwest, a fireworks import and wholesale company that does business as TNT Fireworks, sued over the storage issue. Neves said it was the only one of 13 importers that has not complied with the law.
Committee Chairman Romy Cachola said he advanced the measure for further discussion, saying he wanted to maintain public safety but also take into consideration obstacles faced by companies that wanted to engage in legal business activity.
Also yesterday, the Council's Public Works and Sustainability Committee advanced a measure to end an 80 percent discount on fees charged to private companies that deliver recycling residue to the Waimanalo Gulch landfill. The subsidy has cost the city more than $26 million since 1998, including $2.3 million last year.
Supporters say the discount should be eliminated because it is no longer needed and that a single company, Schnitzer Steel Hawaii, has claimed most of the subsidy, including $2 million last year. Schnitzer contends the tipping fee is applied equally and that the company's share is commensurate with the tonnage it recycles every year.