March 1981 Home   Newsletters

Fall 1981

Spring 1982

Message from the President (Rhoda Miller)
Art Show
Action Alert Sounded
Reapportionment Action Reviewed (Anne Lee)
Mahalo (Anna Hoover)
Bed and Breakfast Program
Sign Up for Legislative Interviews
Juvenile Rights Stressed (Cathy Filson)
Maui League Underway
Hazardous Wastes in Hawaii Discussed

Hazardous Wastes in Hawaii Discussed

The strict Hawaii air quality standards (more strict than federal standards) are in the process of being revised. Currently, Peg Eldridge and I are hard at work representing the LWV on the Air Advisory Committee to the State Department of Health.

The committee is charged with recommending changes in the current air quality standards and enforcement procedures. The fact that the Federal Clean Air Act (see Action Alert) is also being revised has brought interesting complications.

In 1981, Hawaii's high standards for clean air are unenforceable in such areas as Campbell Industrial Park. The feelings of some members of the committee are that easily enforceable standards ought to be set. But is that adequate from the standpoint of health and environment?

Dirty air for Hawaii proposed

One proposal which has come up in the committee meetings is to reduce all the high Hawaii standards for clean air to the more lenient federal levels, and rely on federal enforcement to protect the pristine areas of our state. The PSD (Prevention of Significant Deterioration) program is administered by the national Environmental Protection Agency and is based on allowing increases of pollutants. The increases allowed are over and above the "baseline" concentration of existing pollution levels, and they are set to reflect differing uses of areas. For example, very little pollution is al-lowed in national parks and wilderness areas. A moderate increase in pollutants is allowed for other parts of the country which still have clean air. Hawaii falls into this latter category. The third and largest category in pollution is allowed at the option of any state for any particular areas where a greater amount of polluting growth is desired.

Any increase in pollutants allowed may not exceed national clean air standards. Indeed, the national standards are so lenient as to permit quite dirty air. Standards considered for Hawaii will likely be more protective.

League at regional conference

At the invitation of the State Department of Health and the national Environmental Action Foundation, I represented the state and LWV of Hawaii at the Forum on Hazardous Waste held at Asilomar in California, Sept. 27-19. Fifty representatives from California, Nevada, Arizona and Hawaii heard experts from throughout the country discuss alternate technologies for hazardous waste management; strategies for promoting hazardous waste recycling and reduction; the growing relevance of environmental risk assessment; and various approaches by states to hazardous waste regulation.

Hawaii has no hazardous waste regulation program. In an agreement with the DOH the national Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has assumed primary responsibility for regulating hazardous waste. The DOH will cooperate fully with EPA and has one staff member assigned to this task.

There are no hazardous waste disposal sites in Hawaii. Most hazardous waste is shipped out of the state to a chem-security site in Oregon for disposal. It is not likely that a hazardous waste site will be developed in our state because it would be extremely expensive to protect the ground water supply.

Hazardous wastes are, however, being stored in Hawaii. These wastes include contaminated solvents, cyanide wastes, fluids containing PCB's, heavy metal sludge and unusable pesticides. In 1970, 24.150 pounds of herbicides and DDT were placed in temporary storage on Oahu; these may require shipment to the mainland for disposal.

Anna Hoover

March 1981 Home   Newsletters Spring 1982