To The Dump, To the Dump

SUBHEAD: The County is set on siting the new landfill regardless of the environmental impact. Image above: The Payatas Dumpsite in Quezon City, The Phillipins is the maine solid waste site. From http://www.conexor.se/philippines/dilg/dilg_payatas_1.htm By Andy PArx on 17 November 2009 in Parx New Network - http://parxnewsdaily.blogspot.com/2009/11/to-da-dump-to-da-dump-to-da-dump-dump.html As if to underscore our point yesterday, that the county is seeking to obscure the fact that this Thursday’s meeting regarding the proposed Kalaheo (“Umi”) location for the new landfill is, in reality the scoping meeting for the required environmental impact statement, former Councilmember Mel Rapozo’s blog today ends his post on the meeting and opposing the site’s selection with a paragraph that includes the sentence: I understand that they may be soliciting comments for a future EIS. No, Mel, not “may be” soliciting comments for a “future” EIS- this IS the meeting where they will gather initial comments for the EIS. We received some excellent testimony this morning in the form of a letter to the mayor and council detailing some of the issues that should make people other than the “NIMBY” (not in my backyard) types take notice and we’re presenting it here today. ----------- WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE UMI LANDFILL SITE November 5, 2009 The top rated site proposed for a new County landfill is in the middle of Kauai Coffee Company’s fields, in close proximity to the Kalaheo community. The Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Landfill Site Selection, comprised of community volunteers and assisted by an engineering consultant hired by the County, was formed to rank seven potential landfill sites based on more than two dozen criteria. The rankings were done ‘blind’, with each site identified only by number, and given a total score with the highest score indicating the highest suitability for a landfill. The Committee’s findings resulted in several sites closely ranked at the ‘top’ of the list, with the Umi site’s numerical ranking the highest, by a small margin. The Mayor has forwarded the Committee’s recommendation to the County Council, endorsing their work. The Committee’s volunteer service and dedication to this task should be commended. However, the resulting recommendation did not take into account key information regarding the agricultural value of the Umi site. Lands Designated IAL: In March 2009, the State Land Use Commission designated 3,700 acres of A&B-owned land on Kauai—including the proposed landfill site—as “Important Agricultural Land” (IAL). The IAL designation recognizes these lands as important to maintaining a viable agricultural industry in Hawaii, with exceptional agricultural characteristics. The designation considers factors such as current agricultural use, quality of soil, access to irrigation and other agricultural infrastructure, and the commitment of the landowner to continuing active agricultural activity on the land. No other potential landfill site under consideration is designated IAL. Further, it appears that IAL designation was not factored into the ratings of the site. The IAL status should make the site ineligible for consideration as a landfill or, at a minimum, should have been criteria that reduced the site’s suitability. In fact, the Committee’s recommendation allows for a site’s removal from consideration if “other factors” become known. Displacement of Agricultural Businesses: One of the criteria considered by the Committee was the displacement of businesses, including agricultural businesses. Surprisingly, the Umi site was ranked identically as four others on this criterion—with ‘little or no impact to agricultural businesses anticipated.’ Yet none of the other sites would disrupt a large-scale, long-standing agricultural enterprise. Kauai Coffee has provided at least 70 jobs year-round and from 80-100 seasonally, for decades, and has invested millions of dollars in the Kauai economy in establishing its orchard crop, building its processing facility and Visitor Center, providing good wages and benefits to its employees, and the purchase of goods and services from fellow Kauai businesses. Impacts to Ag Operations: There are a number of ways in which this landfill would harm the agricultural operations of Kauai Coffee. First of all, having a landfill in the middle of their estate, just about 1,500 yards from their Visitor Center, would negatively impact the perceived value and quality of this valuable agricultural product and the high-quality image Kauai Coffee has worked long and hard to establish. The consumer’s perception, in part, establishes a higher value for Kauai Coffee’s Estate Roasted product, differentiating it within a mostly commodity market. Secondly, the displaced coffee trees would be cost prohibitive to relocate or re-establish elsewhere— nearly 130,000 coffee mature trees which take seven years to reach full production. Combining the potential loss in production, traffic to the Visitor Center, and the severe compromising the branding strategy, Kauai Coffee’s future—and the livelihoods of its employees—could be at stake. What Can You Do? Speak out. The County Council has received the Committee’s recommendation from the Mayor. The Council will have to deliberate whether to move forward with public (taxpayer) funding to further study this site, or study multiple sites—or to send the recommendation back to the Mayor. Please contact the Council—using your telephones, email—and ask them to support agriculture and to please reject this landfill location. Contact Information: Personal email sent to all Councilmembers: councilmembers@kauai.gov Email sent to Councilmembers & County Clerk: CouncilTestimony@kauai.gov (becomes public record) http://www.kauai.gov/council

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