Updates on this and that

Road Resurfacing – After a series of delays due to contractor bid challenges, road resurfacing has finally begun on Kamehameha Hwy from Haleiwa to Wahiawa, Kamananui Rd and the extremely bumpy Wilikina Dr. Another terrible section of highway from Waimea to Waialee may also get resurfaced in the coming months as that construction contract was just awarded.


Homeland Defense Radar - Hawaii – The siting process and environmental studies continue for a massive discrimination radar system to track missiles potentially coming from North Korea. The two sites under consideration are Waialee mauka and West Kauai. The military is well aware of strong opposition to the North Shore site and prefers the Kauai location, but the final decision has not been made.


Laniakea traffic – The comment period for the Draft Environmental Assessment on four proposed traffic alternatives at Laniakea are due September 22, 2021. Late comments may be accepted but are not guaranteed. A link to the Draft EA can be found on page 8 at http://oeqc2.doh.hawaii.gov/The_Environmental_Notice/2021-09-08-TEN.pdf


Agricultural Lands – An interagency working group has been meeting to consider policy and legislative changes regarding agricultural condominium property regimes (Ag CPRs). Our agriculture lands are under threat from unscrupulous developers and misguided buyers who illegally build houses on Ag CPRs. I have been an active participant trying to close loopholes, improve oversight, and limit abuses of our planning and zoning processes.


Kawaihapai Airfield – We continue to work toward resolution of the water and lease issues at the airfield that the DOT stated as justification for their planned closure of the airfield. General aviation is important for our state and particularly important for our district. I am confident we will keep the airfield open, but there is still work to be done.


North Shore Coastal Resiliency – An impressive working group has been convened to recommend strategies to improve coastal resiliency. Organized by Surfrider Foundation and the UH Sea Grant Program, I was invited to join climate and coastal scientists, oceanfront homeowners, relevant government agencies and assorted policy wonks to consider the very challenging problem of how best to manage and protect our beaches and shorelines as erosion and sea level rise occur.


Energy – As a member of the Senate Committee on Energy & Environmental Protection, I have had the opportunity to visit various electricity power plants this summer to stay informed on the challenges of moving Hawaii towards renewable energy. The AES coal plant is scheduled for closure next year and they propose conversion to burning biomass to replace the steady base load of power that would be lost.Kalaeloa Partners is a co-generation plant that uses oil to produce electricity and steam used to refine oil at the nearby PAR refinery.A large battery system is meant to provide electricity in the evening when the AES plant goes offline, but that may have to be charged by burning oil in a traditional power plant until more renewable production comes online. Finally, we saw a prototype wave energy conversion devise that will be installed in the spring at the Wave Energy Test Site off Marine Base Hawaii.


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