Latest Articles

  • Just Say No to Balfour for Water Commission

    · By The Civil Beat Editorial Board

    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.

    Water commission nominee William Balfour before the Senate Land and Water Committee, which voted 5-2 to support his confirmation.

    Cory Lum/Civil Beat

    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

  • Hawaii DOT Fined $1.2 Million for Stormwater Violations at 2 Harbors

    · By Nathan Eagle

    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.

    Matson shipyard area on Honolulu Harbor, July 21.

    PF Bentley/Civil Beat

    “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

  • Hawaii Fluoride Debate Idle Despite Major Policy Shifts On Mainland

    · By Alia Wong

    Honolulu is one of the few large U.S. cities that doesn’t add the cavity-fighting mineral to its public water supply.

  • Would Kaimana Beach Disappear With the Waikiki Natatorium?

    · By Sophie Cocke

    Debate over War Memorial reignites fears of beach being washed out to sea.

  • NOAA Program: Kill The Sharks To Save The Baby Monk Seals

    · By Sophie Cocke

    But the marine oversight agency failed to nab a single galapagos shark this year.

  • Health Dept: Dozens of Hawaii Beaches Not Tested for Contamination

    · By Sophie Cocke

    Monitoring expected to fall even more if feds cut money to state.

  • Sperm Banks For Coral? One Scientist’s Unusual Plan To Save The Species

    · By Sophie Cocke

    Hawaii is at the center of cutting-edge technology to save the world’s marine ecosystems.

  • Waikiki, Say Aloha to Jellyfish

    · By Sophie Cocke

    Swarms of jellyfish off Oahu’s southern coast are likely here to stay.

  • Hawaii Only State Not Regulating Pesticides Under Clean Water Act

    · By Sophie Cocke

    Delay in complying with federal regulations is hurting agricultural operations.

  • Is Honolulu Drowning In Sea Of Leaking Money?

    · By Michael Levine

    Board raised rates last year to pay for system upgrades.

  • ‘Pipe Whisperers’ Hear The Rustle Of Running Water

    · By Michael Levine

    High-tech teams save Honolulu water, time and money.

  • Water Commission Nominees Confirmed Amid Growing Outcry

    · By Sophie Cocke

    Senate moves ahead while governor looks down from gallery.

  • Secrecy Shrouds Selection of Water Commissioners

    · By Sophie Cocke

    Nominating committee never interviewed candidates, only met once.

  • Doubting State, Honolulu Moves To Add Bag Fee

    · By Michael Levine

    Stores would pay city 3 cents per plastic checkout bag.

  • Mayor Won’t Cancel Sewage Treatment Contract

    · By Michael Levine

    Decision sets up redux of last year’s biggest budget battle.