Hawaii County Government’s Carbon Footprint Released

State’s First Government Operation Emissions Inventory

Media Release:

The County of Hawai ‘i has released the state’s first government operation greenhouse gas emissions inventory.  Prepared by a group of county employees with the assistance of the Department of Research and Development, the study quantifies emissions created by county government during the delivery of services to the public.

Hawaii County Green Team

Hawaii County Green Team

Hawai‘i County’s first carbon footprint will serve as baseline which officials can use to track the effectiveness of energy, waste and emission reduction efforts.  The release of this study puts the County of Hawaii at the forefront of climate protection strategies in the state.

“You can’t manage what you don’t measure,” said Mayor Billy Kenoi. “The threats posed by our dependence on fossil fuels and climate change continue to grow, but in difficult economic times it is essential that our efforts to reduce our energy use, waste, and emissions are targeted to where they will be most cost effective.  This inventory provides a roadmap for these actions and shows county government is leading by example.”

The study found that in Fiscal Year 2007-2008, providing services such as public safety, parks and recreation, water delivery, solid waste disposal and wastewater services produced 134,130 metric tons of carbon emissions or the equivalent to using 311,930 barrels of oil.

Delivery of water to residents via electric pumps was the largest contributor of greenhouse gases emissions, representing 40 percent of the county’s total carbon footprint. The county’s solid waste facilities released 31 percent of direct greenhouse gases, followed by County Mass Transit and fleets (12 percent of total direct emissions) and county buildings and facilities (5 percent).

When combined, wastewater, streetlights and commuting employees accounted for the remaining 12 percent.  Overall, the county spent $33 million to pay for electricity and fuel in Fiscal Year 2007-2008.  This represents 7 percent of the island’s usage of electricity.

“Accounting for local government operation’s fossil fuel use and its associated financial and environmental costs are the first step to understand local government’s contribution to climate change,” said Alex Frost, coordinator of the group known as the Mayor’s Green Team. “The report provides an initial baseline to develop benchmarks and metrics to track results and help identify strategic opportunities that will save money and reduce pollution.”

The calculation of greenhouse gas emissions was conducted with ICLEI – Local Government for Sustainability USA’s Clean Air and Climate Protection software (CACP).  The findings will be included in the Mayor’s Vision 20/15: Green Government Action Plan to be released in May.

This plan identifies programs and projects that can be used by county government to save money through the reduction of emissions, waste and energy usage.

Results of the current inventory and sustainability assessments conducted by Mayor’s Green Team can be downloaded at http://www.hawaiicountyrandd.net/hcrc/green-government.

*UPDATE* Two UH Hilo Students Drugged and Sexually Assaulted

Apparently two students at the University of Hawaii Hilo were victims of drug facilitated sexual assaults.

UH Hilo Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Luohuo Hong is reporting that two students were assaulted when drugged.

She doesn’t mention whether a suspect has been caught or not.

Luoluo Hong

UH Hilo Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Luoluo Hong

Luoluo Hong just tweeted the following:

Two UH Hilo students recently reported being the victims of drug-facilitated sexual assaults; these incidents are… http://fb.me/OUBxh8If

24 Apr

*UPDATE* The Hawaii Tribune has published the following today:

…Police arrested 20-year-old Nicholas S. Lowder of Hilo on suspicion of first-degree sex assault Thursday. He was released pending an investigation. A second man is also being sought. “We’re still working on this investigation. When we have a second suspect, we’ll let you know,” said Lt. Lucille Melemai, commander of the Hilo Juvenile Aid section… UHH Coeds Tell of Sexual Assault

Japanese Consul General to Address Hawaii State Legislature on Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Aftermath

Media Release:

WHAT:  The Honorable Yoshihiko Kamo, Consul General of Japan in Honolulu, will address the Hawaii State Legislature in a special joint session of the House and Senate.  The Consul General will give remarks on the aftermath of the March 11, 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami, including an update on how the devastation continues to impact the lives of those across Japan.

Yoshihiko Kamo

Yoshihiko Kamo

WHEN:  Tuesday, April 26, 2011 – 12 noon

WHERE: Hawaii State Capitol – House of Representatives Chamber

WHY:   The Hawaii State Legislature passed House Concurrent Resolution No. 319 – Requesting the Japanese Consul General in Honolulu to Address the Legislature Assembled in Joint Session.  Online copy: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2011/bills/HCR319_.htm

WHO:  The Honorable Yoshihiko Kamo has served as the Consul General of Japan in Honolulu since August 2009.  His profile from the Consulate General of Japan website is provided below:

http://www.honolulu.us.emb-japan.go.jp/en/about_cg_en.htm

Consul General Kamo was born in 1952 in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. He graduated from Tokyo University, Faculty of Engineering, in 1976 and joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He served in Tokyo, as Director, Southwest Asia Division, MOFA and Director General, International Affairs Department, Secretariat of the House of Representatives. His overseas assignments include the Embassies of Japan in Bangladesh, Thailand, Canada, Myanmar and Finland. He also served as the Consul General in Houston.

Earth Day Marks Start of Think Yellow, Go Green Recycling Program for Neighbor Island Schools

Students Look to Raise the Bar on Last Year’s Recycled Telephone Directories Totals

Media Release:

The Berry Company LLC, publisher of the Hawaiian Telcom Yellow Pages, announced the launch of its annual telephone directoryrecycling program, Think Yellow, Go Green. Schools on the islands of Hawaii, Kauai, Lanai, Maui and Molokai will compete to recycle the most telephone directories with the goal of surpassing last year’s recycling totals and winning cash prizes.

Hawaii Telcom

“Last year, our schools helped collect 64 tons of telephone directories across the neighbor islands,” said Scott Szczekocki, client services regional director for Berry. “The community response has been tremendous, and I look forward to another strong campaign this year.”

Similar to previous years, schools have the opportunity to win cash prizes for their students’ participation in the recycling program. Award amounts vary depending on where the school is located and the amount of directories recycled at that school. Schools on Kauai, Hawaii and Maui that collect the most directories per student will be awarded a cash prize of $800 for first place, $600 for second place, $400 for third place, $300 for fourth place and $200 for fifth place. The top schools on Molokai have the opportunity to collect $500 for first place, $300 for second place and $200 for third place. The school on Lanai will be awarded $350 for participation in this year’s program.

“The opportunity to win a prize is a great incentive for students to participate and spread the word about Think Yellow, Go Green,” said Szczekocki. “It’s so exciting to see students, parents and the community all participate in this important recycling effort.”

After the close of the contest on May 21, the recycled telephone directories will be shipped to Honolulu recycler, Island Shell. The directories will then be converted into materials that are reused on the island, such as oil-absorbent materials, home insulation and mulch. Hawaiian Telcom Yellow Pages contain 40 percent post-consumer materials and are 100 percent recyclable.

Choose to Reuse

In another environmental initiative, Berry is partnering with Hawaii Foodbank to host a community food drive. This year, Berry is using heavier-weight delivery bags that can be reused, encouraging the community to fill the bags with nonperishable food items. Donations can be delivered to any Hawaii Foodbank drop-off location, the nearest Ruby Tuesdays, Hard Rock Café or NAPA Auto Parts store.

“We are so excited to be working with Berry on this food drive,” said Polly Kauahi, Director of Development at Hawaii Foodbank. “Hawaii Foodbank provides food to nearly 200,000 individuals each year and this will be a great way to encourage more residents to give back to the community.”

The food drive will begin in May and continue throughout the summer.

To find out more information about Berry, Think Yellow, Go Green or the food drive, visit www.ThinkYellowGoGreen.com or www.BerryMeansBusiness.com. Consumers who need additional directories or wish to opt out of print directory delivery may visit HTYellowPages.com and click on Directory Delivery Options.

Councilman Pete Hoffman on Budget Amendment

Councilman Pete Hoffman

Councilman Pete Hoffman

Media Release:

On 19 April, the Council’s Agricultural, Water and Energy Sustainability Committee recommended approval of the long-awaited Agricultural Development Plan (ADP).  Prepared by the Kohala Center, the ADP is really not a plan – as Mr. Pilago correctly reminded us.  The document the Council considered contains no specifics regarding implementation but is rather a collection of ideas and concepts that address a number of varied aspects related to the County’s agricultural capabilities.  Regardless what we want to call it, the ADP is very well done in my opinion and should prove a useful guide and reference for many years.

So what’s the problem, you might ask?  The problem raised by the administration’s support for this ADP is similar to countless other instances that the current and previous administrations have presented to the residents of this County:  it is remarkably long on words and ideas but discouragingly short on resources.  The plan details exactly the issues and the possible solutions.  Anyone reading the ADP cannot help but appreciate the great potential this County possesses in our agricultural sector.  Page after page of the ADP clearly explains the situation and the reasonable suggestions that must be implemented if our agricultural potential is to be fully realized.

No one disputes these possibilities, therefore, I think it is reasonable to ask where are the resources to activate the ADP?  Where in the Mayor’s budget submission do we see some recognition of the importance that should be accorded to the ADP?  The plan as supported by the administration states without equivocation that the “County of Hawai’i Department of Research and Development should increase or reallocate existing resources to undertake the following County functions deemed essential for the growth of the agricultural industry on Hawai’i Island.”  What resources are envisioned for these purposes?  What resources have been reallocated?

Forgive me for my obvious skepticism, but County residents have witnessed this scenario too many times in the past.  Good plans/recommendations, big publicity upon final approval, little in the way of funds/personnel to do the job!!  Despite the ADP’s suggestions and the importance placed on the need to dramatically expand agricultural efforts in every phase of the industry, the County still employs only one individual to accomplish these tasks.  No matter how competent that individual might be, this is absolutely ridiculous. We have all the potential to achieve food sustainability and an economically viable agricultural industry but we refuse to provide even a hint of investment to get the plan initiated.  Of course, I haven’t forgotten that we face steep economic/resource challenges in the coming months, but as the ADP reinforces again and again throughout, resources can and should be reallocated.  If we are fearful of providing new funds for investment, why not at least move forward by reallocating existing funds and personnel to do the job?

We’ve been over this ground many times in the past.  The ADP says little that is new or was unknown to those knowledgeable of these issues.  The suggestions are clear and the administration supposedly advocates for the recommendations contained in the ADP.  Therefore, I call upon the Mayor to put some “teeth” into this support.  Let’s at least see some reallocations of resources in the next budget submission in order to begin this process.  I realize not everything can be done at one time, particularly under current conditions, but our economic difficulties should not be used as an excuse to do nothing.  On the contrary, the administration must recognize the potential and seize the moment to prioritize resources for the benefit of all residents, golf subsidies not withstanding.  Good leadership demands this kind of decision-making.  Is the administration up to the challenge?

The County’s track-record is staggering for producing good planning documents that gather proverbial dust on the shelf.  I remain cautiously optimistic that the Mayor will not allow the traditional County approach to stymie this well-prepared ADP.  I’m hopeful we will see some reflection of the need to initiate at least some of the ADP’s priority actions in the budget submission on 5 May.  Otherwise, we will retain another great example of “deju vu” to the disadvantage of all.