On January 31, 2006, a Notice and Finding of Violation was
issued to the City and County of Honolulu and their Waimanalo Gulch
Landfill operator, Waste Management of Hawaii, Inc. regarding violations
occurring at the site over the past two years. (links to the
notice follow this report). On February 13,
2006, Waste Management's attorney filed a formal written request with
the State Department of Health for an administrative hearing to contest
the Notice. Since then, approximately one year later, there
still has not been a hearing regarding this matter, and violations are
still occurring at the landfill. Instead of pursuing collection of
the fines, the Dept. of Health has allowed Waste Management to engage in
a settlement workout "behind closed doors".
Because the workout sessions are closed to the public, the public
does not know what is going on, and does not have the opportunity to
participate or be heard from regarding this matter.
The closed door hearings violate "transparency of government", and the
public's right to be informed.
Based on our discussions with the Dept. of Solid and Hazardous Waste
Management, we believe the closed hearings are allowing the participants
to tailor their data to fit the workout.
Furthermore, Waste Management of Hawaii, Inc. has trumped up bribery
charges and allegations of improper behavior against one of their
ex-employees who, they say, "improperly spent money on one or more
Health Department officials". While we
abhor any act of government employees or managers taking stipends or
bribes, and believe this matter should be thoroughly investigated,
the timing of the complaint is suspect. We believe it was intended
as a smoke screen to create a diversion from the fact that violations
have been occurring for the past three years, and continue to this day.
We also learned that Waste Management's complaint against its employee
only came about after the employee refused to come back and serve as a
consultant in order to answer the charges made in the Notice of
Following is a copy of the notice: