Date: May 21, 2010
Source: News Room
A plan to ship Hawaiian waste stateside is still on hold. According to various accounts, more than 20,000 tons of waste has now accumulated at Hawaiian Waste Systems' (HWS) facility in Oahu awaiting shipment across the Pacific to a landfill in Washington State as federal regulators wrangle over paperwork. HWS said that approval of an amendment to its federal permit has taken much longer than expected. The original plan involved transporting about 100,000 tons of waste per year in shrink-wrapped bales in sealed containers to the Roosevelt landfill in Washington State via the Columbia River. However, the company realized that it would be more efficient to instead unload the wastes onto trains at Lower Columbia ports - Longview, Rainier or Vancouver which would save four to five days shipping time. Since HWS was the low bidder at $99.89 a ton, about half what other bidders would have charged, it likely needs whatever efficiencies can be squeezed out of the process.
However, switching transportation plans requires approval from the Animal and Plant Inspection Service (APIS), a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Months of empty promises of approval from the USDA has led HWS president Mike Chutz to declare "I don't believe anything that the USDA says until they do it, and I don't even believe it after they do it. We have been frustrated from performing this contract which we entered into in good faith, and we've been prepared to perform throughout the course of this," he said.