Plan to Ship Hawaiian Waste to Mainland Hits another Snag

Date: August 16, 2010

Source: News Room

Plans to ship waste from Hawaii across the Pacific Ocean to a landfill in Washington State have hit another major hurdle. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) withdrew a shipping permit that Hawaiian Waste Systems needs to ship nearly 20,000 tons of waste already received at its transfer station on Oahu. The plan was to divert as much as 100 tons of waste per day from the City and County of Honolulu's overburdened H-Power waste-to-energy plant and relieve the Waimanalo Gulch Landfill there which is running out of capacity. However, USDA began to have concerns that waste from Hawaii might contaminate the local ecology on the mainland, which the company disputed since it was packing the waste in shrink wrapped bales.

Ultimately, the USDA approved the deal which involves a 2,600-mile voyage from Hawaii to the port of Longview, WA where the waste was to be transloaded to rail cars destined for the Roosevelt Landfill. That led the Yakama Indian Tribe, whose land surrounds the landfill, to sue the USDA. In their complaint to the federal court, the Yakama cited fear of invasive plant species, microbes, insects and other pests from Hawaii that could attach to the waste cargo. The court issued a temporary restraining order on July 29 and USDA withdrew its approval. Now the Mayor of Honolulu is seeking to cancel its contract with the company so that it can move on to consider other alternatives. The total value of the three-year contract is estimated to be around $30 million in gross revenues, minus the cost of trans-shipment and landfill disposal fees.

See also:

"Hawaiian Waste Due for Mainland Piling Up; Company Awaits USDA Approval,"

"Plan to Ship Hawaiian Waste Stateside Delayed,"

"Waste from Oahu and Honolulu to be Barged to Washington State,"

"Oahu Approves Contract to Ship Waste to Washington State,"

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