Were it not for dustups on environmental issues, Gov. David Ige’s fledgling service as Hawaii’s CEO would be cruising smoothly along, with nary a bump in the road. But for the second time in less than four months, he’s staked his political fortunes to an inexplicable nominee for a key position whose candidacy is calling into question the governor’s values on the environment.
William Balfour would serve a four-year term on the state Commission on Water Resource Management, one of Hawaii’s most powerful and important boards, if senators vote this week to confirm him. The Senate Water and Land Committee voted 5-2 in support of Balfour’s nomination on Friday, though senators were decidedly unenthusiastic.
Sen. Brickwood Galuteria, who backed the nominee, seemed to sum up the grudging support, saying unless Balfour demonstrated a “lack of moral integrity, (he) should be given the opportunity to serve.” Added Sen. Les Ihara, also a “yes” vote, “ … you would not be my pick, my selection. But I do find that he is qualified.”
Oh, the damning ring of faint praise.
If this were a nomination to the cosmetology board or boxing commission, the former president of three sugar companies and a banana farm might not be the subject of an online petition that had rapidly surpassed 3,800 signatures (and counting) as of this writing. But a lifetime of representing big
Updated 4:03 p.m., 9/10/2014
The Hawaii Department of Transportation has to pay a $1.2 million penalty and fix federal Clean Water Act stormwater violations at Honolulu and Kalaeloa harbors under a multi-agency agreement announced Wednesday.
The department also has to create an Office of Environmental Compliance, rank and inspect harbor tenants based on their risk of polluting and establish a comprehensive Construction Runoff Control Program to manage discharges from development sites.
The agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice, Environmental Protection Agency and state Department of Health stems from EPA and DOH inspections in December 2008 at the two harbors.
“Stormwater discharges pollute Hawaii’s streams and coastal waters,” Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest, said in a joint EPA-DOH release. “By making long-term changes to its operations, HDOT is taking major steps to increase the protection of beaches, coral reefs and water quality on Oahu.”
The DOT has to pay the $1.2 million civil penalty, plus interest, within seven days of the entry of the consent decree. Half of the money will be paid to the DOH and half to the U.S. government, according to the decree.
Update “The Hawaii DOT has already made major strides in improving storm water run-off management plans in its Highways and Airports Divisions,” interim DOT Director Ford Fuchigami said in a statement. “The creation of the environmental compliance office will ensure that HDOT has staff strictly focused on environmental issues across all divisions.”
The DOT has 180
Honolulu is one of the few large U.S. cities that doesn’t add the cavity-fighting mineral to its public water supply.
Debate over War Memorial reignites fears of beach being washed out to sea.
But the marine oversight agency failed to nab a single galapagos shark this year.
Monitoring expected to fall even more if feds cut money to state.
Hawaii is at the center of cutting-edge technology to save the world’s marine ecosystems.
Swarms of jellyfish off Oahu’s southern coast are likely here to stay.
Delay in complying with federal regulations is hurting agricultural operations.
Board raised rates last year to pay for system upgrades.
High-tech teams save Honolulu water, time and money.
Senate moves ahead while governor looks down from gallery.
Nominating committee never interviewed candidates, only met once.
Stores would pay city 3 cents per plastic checkout bag.
Decision sets up redux of last year’s biggest budget battle.
- Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources
- Hawaii Commission on Water Resource Management
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
- U.S. Geological Survey
- City and County of Honolulu Board of Water Supply
- Maui County Board of Water Supply
- Kauai Department of Water
- Hawaii County department of Water Supply