Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017


Bioenergy Hawai`i plans to process waste collected by the County of Hawai`i from as far away as Ka`u at the concrete quarry
near Waikoloa. Its resource recovery plant would make transportation fuel, soil improvement products for agriculture and sell
recyclables. Above is BioEnergy Hawai`i's image and logo from www.bioenergyhawaii.com
WASTE FROM KA`U COULD BE PROCESSED AS FAR AWAY as Waikoloa with the development of  BioEnergy Hawai`i's  resource recovery plant. The cost of hauling the waste from Ka`u and other south side districts to the other side of the island would be reduced by creating transportation fuel from the organics in the waste stream.
     The company's website says the "Conventional landfill disposal operations contribute to ecological problems that affect our existing communities and future generations. Waste diversion practices will recover our 'wasted' resources and generate value products to support local sustainable agriculture and alternative energy initiatives." It points out that 500 tons of material are sent to landfill disposal on Hawai`i Island every day. A "seventy-percent waste diversion rate can be reached through resource recovery initiatives. Eighty-five percent of Hawai`i Island's agricultural products are imported each year and 90 percent of the energy consumed in Hawai`i each year is from imported fossil fuel."
       The facility is planned for the West Hawai`i Concrete Quarry site near Waikoloa, which is considered by the developers of the resource recovery plant as ideal, with the little rain and little agriculture to disturb there. The County recently signed off on an environmental permit for this location where recyclables will be delivered, recovered and collected for offsite sales. Organic materials will be used for agricultural products and to produce energy. Natural gas will be made for transporation fuel and stationary power through processing organics in an anaerobic digester. The organic waste put through a thermal conversion process will make electricity and other fuels, according to BioEnergy Hawai`i.
Waste recovery cycle image provided to the state and county by
BioEnergy Hawai`i, which has applied for permits.
     According to BioEnergy Hawai`i, LLC's proposal to the state and county, the renewable nautral gas will be used to power waste collection vehicles and also sold to offsite consumers to displace fossil fules. "Approximately 70 percent of waste enering the facility can be diverted from the island's landfill."
     The facility is to be built and operated at no cost to the County of Hawai`i. "Positive impacts include a reduction in greenhouse gas emmission over the existing solid waste disposal system, conservation of landfill space, reduced cost to users which may be passed along to the public, and displacement of substantial amounts of imported fossil fuels. The proposed action can coexist with the County's proposed efforts to recover organic materials, but may also relieve the County from having to incur the expenses of organics diversion," sates BioEnergy Hawai`i's proposal.
     Negative impacts include "a slight increase in traffic along Waikoloa Road." The facility requires a state Special Use Permit, Solid Waste Management Permis and Clean Air Permit as well as building and grading permits.
     Bioenergy Hawai`i is based in Kailua-Kona  and Newport Beach, CA. It partners with the Ulupono Initiative to finance the project. See more at www.bioenergyhawaii.com.

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A SEPARATE PROCESSING PLANT FOR MULCH near Hilo that would be contracted by the county to handle organic waste may be put on hold. The proposed site is at Pana`ewa but residents are objecting. Big Island Video News interviewed Panna`ewa residents who were sign waving along Hwy 11 in Hilo, as they objected to the possibility of odor and traffic. Hawai`i Tribune Herald reported today that Mayor Harry Kim might consider canceling the contract.

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REINSTATING THE GLASS-STEAGALL 'RETURN TO PRUDENT BANKING ACT' is a mission for Ka`u's U.S. House of Representatives member. Tulsi Gabbard joined 26 members of Congress last week to introduce the bipartisan legislation, endorsed by Public Citizen and the AFL-CIO. She said it would reinstate important consumer protections put in place after the Great Depression and require separation between commercial and investment banking.
      Gabbard said she believes Pres. Donald Trump supports the bill but she also responded to his signing of an order to begin rolling back Wall Street regulations such as the one called Dodd-Frank. Gabbard tweeted today, "Further deregulating Wall Street will make it easier for big banks to make risky bets on the back of families."
     Concerning the new legislation, she stated, "From the Great Depression through the turn of the 21st Century, Glass-Steagall helped keep our economy safe. Repealing it allowed too-big-to-fail banks to gamble with the savings and livelihoods of the American people, with devastating, irrevocable consequences. Hawaiʻi, along with communities across the country, paid the price in 2008 with the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Today, the banks that were 'too big to fail' in 2008 are even bigger and more powerful now. We must reinstate Glass-Steagall and create a financial system that works for every American—not just Wall Street banks," said Gabbard.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard supports a bill that would once again separate commercial
and investment banking. The bill is called The Return of Prudent Banking and
she said it has Pres. Donald Trump's support.
Photo from Office of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
    Gabbard explained that in 1933, the Banking Act - also known at the Glass-Steagall Act - passed amid an atmosphere of chaos and uncertainty to address banking failures of the Great Depression. "The goal of its lead cosponsors, Rep. Henry Steagall and Sen. Carter Glass, was to separate commercial and investment banking and restore confidence in the American banking system.
     "In 1999, Congress repealed the Glass-Steagall Act and removed the barriers between investment banking and traditional depository banks. This action gave financial institutions and investment firms access to the deposits of the American consumer, which then were used to gamble on the Wall Street casino.
     "This misguided deregulation allowed the creation of giant financial supermarkets—that could own investment banks, commercial banks, and insurance firms—and created companies too big and intertwined to fail. This lack of regulation also allowed Wall Street to leverage their debt past sustainable ratios using consumer mutual funds and the pension accounts of American workers as collateral," stated Gabbard.
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VETERANS CLAIMS PROCESSING could be speeded up, according to Ka`u's representative in congress, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. She has cosponsored the bipartisan WINGMAN Act (H.R.512), legislation that would streamline the veterans claims process between the Department of Veterans Administration and congressional offices that process claims on behalf of veterans and their families.
     “It’s my honor to serve the hundreds of Hawaiʻi veterans that contact my office each year for help. However, slow turnaround and thick layers of bureaucracy at the VA too often leave certified congressional staff jumping through tedious hoops to access critical information on behalf of veterans and their families. At times, we have waited for months to get a simple answer from the VA on behalf of a Hawaiʻi veteran. This is unacceptable. The WINGMAN Act would cut through the red tape and allow congressional offices to provide quicker, more efficient service to our veterans,” said Gabbard.
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has been speaking with veterans about faster
processing of their claims. She hosts a meeting Tuesday in Hilo.
Photo from the office of Tulsi Gabbard
     According to Gabbard, the WINGMAN Act would streamline the veterans claims process between congressional offices and their
constituents by eliminating the requirement to use the VA as a middle-man.     Under WINGMAN, certified constituent advocates would be able to directly access the status of pending claims, medical records, rating decisions, statement of the case, supplementary statement of the case, notice of disagreement, and Form-9 files within a reasonable amount of time, without having to go through a middle-man at t Gabbar said her office helps hundreds of veterans get assistance from the VA and other federal agencies with constituent advocates located in every county, holding regular office hours. For a list of upcoming office hours, click here: http://bit.ly/2jLHHfG. For information on how Ka`u's Representative in Congress and staff can assist constituents, click here: http://bit.ly/2hq1jbS
     The next Gabbard constituent meeting on Hawai`i Island will be this Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 4:30 p.m. at Wailoa Arts & Cultural Center at 200 Piopio Street in Hilo.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.


TRYOUTS FOR KA`U HIGH TROJANS BOYS VOLLEYBALL is Monday after school, with practice five days a week. Coach is Joshua Ortega, who also coaches Trojans Girls Volleyball. Also on tap for the Trojans is Girls Varsity Softball with coach Donald Garo, Track and Field with Assistant Coach Linda Le. According to Ka`u High Athletic Director Kalei Namohana, there will be no baseball or tennis this year.

VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT MEETING on Monday, Feb. 6 at 4 p.m., Ocean View Community Center. 939-7033

ADULT MOLD CERAMICS, Monday and Wednesday, Feb. 6 – March 15, 5:30 p.m. – 8 p.m., Pāhala Community Center. Register at 928-3102.

HAWAI`I COUNTY COUNCIL MEETINGS will be held on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, Feb. 7 and 8 and Feb. 21 and 22 at 9 a.m. Ka‘ū residents can participate via videoconferencing at Nā‘ālehu State Office Building. See hawaiicounty.gov for agendas and live-streamed and archived meetings.

KA`U COFFEE GROWERS MEETING, Tuesday, Feb. 7, at 6 p.m., Pāhala Community Center.

ETHNOBIOLOGY OF HAWAIIAN FEATHER ARTIFACTS is the subject of After Dark in the Park on Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. Free at Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium.

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