The Hawaiian County Council passed a resolution urging the directors of the departments of Environmental Management and Research and Development to collaborate on developing new waste reduction technologies and find new alternative power sources for the island.

Although the resolution has been popular among council members, it changed somewhat in response to criticism from members of the public. The version of the resolution that passed — the second of two drafts created while it was going through committees — includes language that specifically excludes waste incineration as a viable waste management strategy.

The previous version of the resolution sparked concern from members of the public that the conflation of “waste management” and “alternative energy” implied the possible creation of a waste-to-energy plant that incinerates waste to generate power. A similar plant was considered by the county in 2012, but ultimately abandoned after public outcry.

Paik-Mander, and other testifiers, said she thinks the resolution is redundant to the county’s 2009 Zero Waste Plan, which set a goal of reducing the county’s ecological footprint, and would impede the implementation of that plan. “The Zero Waste Plan is very good,” Paik-Mander said. “This resolution would pre-empt that.”

Councilwoman Karen Eoff disagreed, saying the resolution seems compatible with the Zero Waste Plan and can be implemented in tandem with it. Councilwoman Valerie Poindexter pointed out that the resolution is nonbinding, merely “strongly urging” the relevant departments to prioritize finding solutions to the county’s waste problems.

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