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Court strikes down Waimanalo Gulch landfill restriction

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 3:51 p.m. HST, May 4, 2012

The Hawaii Supreme Court struck down today a restriction by the state Land Use Commission prohibiting the Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill from accepting municipal solid wastes after July 31.

In a unanimous 5-0 decision, the high court ruled that the provision was not supported by the evidence.

The high court noted that the record reflects that there would be a continuing need beyond July 31 to dispose the wastes at the landfill, the only permitted public facility for municipal solid wastes.

The high court sent the case back to the commission to hold further proceedings consistent with today's ruling.

"No community wants a landfill in its back yard, but it's important to understand that our island will continue to need one for the foreseeable future to handle materials that can't be recycled, can't be turned into energy by the H-Power plant, or that result from a natural disaster," Mayor Peter Carlisle said in a statement this afternoon.

The decision comes at a time the city is considering a new landfill following the Mayor's Advisory Committee on Landfill Site Selection recently naming 11 possible sites.

But Tim Steinberger, director of the city Department of Environmental Services, has said the city feels it should continue to use the Waimanalo Gulch landfill, which has a lifespan of more than 15 years.

The city had been hoping that the high court would lift the July 31 restriction.


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