State and Region briefs for July 31

Lawmakers pass bill blocking Oahu landfill expansion

HONOLULU — State lawmakers passed a bill that would block the planned expansion of the landfill used for large commercial projects, including the demolition of Aloha Stadium and Honolulu’s rail system.

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PVT Land Co. countered that the measure could force the company to raise disposal fees and stop accepting some material.

The site in Nanakuli is the only landfill on Oahu allowed to accept material from commercial construction and demolition projects.

The bill would require at least a half-mile buffer zone around residences, schools and hospitals for the construction, modification or expansion of a waste or disposal facility.

The bill would also prohibit the location of a disposal facility in a conservation district, except under emergency circumstances.

Gov. David Ige has until Sept. 15 to veto bills, but must notify lawmakers about his intentions by Aug. 31.

The Nanakuli landfill dates to the early 1980s and has an estimated five years of remaining capacity.

PVT also contends a prohibition on expansion could cause cleanup difficulties if Oahu is hit by a major hurricane. The facility is designated to receive most debris from catastrophic hurricane damage.

Other consequences could include increased illegal dumping and reduced construction material recycling, the company said.

Honolulu’s Department of Environmental Services said the bill would prevent expansion of the city’s landfill, waste-to-energy plant, three refuse transfer stations and six refuse and recycling drop-off centers.

Kauai County testified the bill would require closing two of four refuse transfer stations in 2022. Maui County anticipates spending millions of dollars to acquire land to expand landfill facilities.

Broadband deal revived

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The purchase of a bankrupt British telecommunications company appears to have revived a project for an Alaska company to deploy satellite broadband service.

OneWeb Satellites and Anchorage-based Pacific Dataport Inc. said their agreement remains valid.

London-based OneWeb filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection March 27, which appeared to end a deal the company made with Pacific Dataport, also known as PDI, the broadband subsidiary of Anchorage-based telecom Microcom Inc.

OneWeb and PDI announced a business partnership in January to sell wholesale broadband capacity throughout Alaska and Hawaii.

OneWeb was restored earlier this month when the U.K. Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy partnered with investment firm Bharti Global Ltd. to purchase OneWeb for more than $1 billion and restart its global satellite project.

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Hughes Communications Inc. announced July 27 it agreed in principle to also invest $50 million if creditors and regulators approve the purchase.

OneWeb’s LEO network of low-earth orbit satellites was in development when the company lost several large corporate investors. They cited financial uncertainty from the coronavirus pandemic.

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