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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 3:29 p.m., Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Mayor rejects council call to close landfill by 2008

Advertiser Staff

Mayor Mufi Hannemann today vetoed a bill that would have required the city to close its Waimanalo Gulch landfill in Leeward O'ahu by May 1, 2008, a city news release said.

In a written statement, Hannemann said "the reality is, we cannot shut it down without a replacement in sight. Even if a new location were identified today, it would take more than five years to obtain the necessary permits to open a landfill there."

The council on Feb. 15 voted 7-2 to require the city to close the landfill. If the number of council members in support of the measure remains the same, the council has the votes to override the mayor's veto and keep the deadline in place.

In addressing the need to find alternatives, Hannemann said shipping O'ahu's refuse to out of state, as some have suggested, would be prohibitively expensive, and would face tremendous regulatory obstacles, the news release said.

New technologies to dispose of refuse and eliminate the need for a landfill are unproven, the release said. The HPOWER plant burns more than one-third of Oahu's refuse, reducing its volume by 90 percent, but the ash still has to be placed somewhere, it said.

The mayor called on the Council to "work with the administration to deal with the solid waste disposal challenge for the benefit of all our constituents."

Hannemann had until Thursday to veto Bill 37 or let it become law without his signature.

Now that he has vetoed it, according to the city charter, the council may vote on the veto after five days and within 30 days. Six votes would be needed to override the veto.