comscore $1.3 million air quality, reporting fine could be reduced | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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$1.3 million air quality, reporting fine could be reduced

WAILUKU >> Hawaii Commercial & Sugar Co. is not admitting fault under a proposed settlement that reduces a $1.3 million air quality and reporting fine tied to Puunene Mill to $600,000.

The $600,000 would go toward the state, the University of Hawaii’s Vog Measurement and Prediction Project, and the creation of stations measuring air quality at three Maui schools, The Maui News reported.

The public will have 30 days to comment.

Any changes require approval from both the company and health department.

Health officials can still set a hearing if the department determines the settlement is inappropriate.

Company general manager Rick Volner said the plantation will monitor air quality during sugar cane burning.

Vog levels spreading from Kilauea volcano are currently monitored, with data available online.

“Volcanic gas emissions pose significant environmental and health risks to nearby communities,” the tentative agreement said. “Thus far, the risk posed by volcanic emission hazards has been mitigated by health officials and emergency managers through public education.”

Volner said the health department will take over ownership of the monitoring equipment at the schools after the plantation’s last harvest.

“HC&S believes that the terms of the proposed settlement provide for a fair and appropriate resolution of this matter,” he said.

“Resolution of this matter enables HC&S to focus our resources on supporting our employees during this time of transition, completing the final sugar cane harvest and beginning the shift of our operations to a diversified agricultural future,” he said.

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  • We continue to drive industrial agriculture out of the islands. I guess that process reflects the new demographic which consists of newbies and the well-to-do. So be it.
    However, maybe the State should take a look at land use, land use districts, and county zoning for land uses i the Vog Plume, which is impacting even us on Oahu, not to mention the big island and Maui.
    Is it not a proper role of government to restrict residential and other uses in areas where the people might be adversely impacted by environmental factors? We don’t allow people to build in flood or tsunami zones. We don’t allow development on steep slopes or unstable ground. We don’t allow garbage dumps next to houses. We require houses to be build to withstand certain natural forces like winds or earthquakes, or fire. But, we blithely continue to allow residential and other development in the Vog plume.
    Is the Vog plume equivalent to HC&S emissions? Maybe so. If a person builds a house in the Vog plume and lives there for 50 years….what happens to that person’s health? Should not the countyies and the state be tightening land use controls within the Vog plume? In recent years on Oahu our eyes have watered, our noses stuffed up, our rates of respiratory complaints have all increases, seemingly in response to the increase in Vog, and coupled with the decrease in tradewinds. Something is upside down here. Many folks make livings from “industrial ag” and we are driving out those businesses. We are replacing them with expensive houses and shopping centers which the folks driven out of jobs will not find affordable.
    Something is wrong with this picture. I don’t know how to fix it. Do you?

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