About The Kaʻū Calendar

Ka`u, Hawai`i, United States
A locally owned and run community newspaper (www.kaucalendar.com) distributed in print to all Ka`u District residents of Ocean View, Na`alehu, Pahala, Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, Volcano Village and Miloli`i on the Big Island of Hawai`i. This blog is where you can catch up on what's happening daily with our news briefs. This blog is provided by The Ka`u Calendar Newspaper (kaucalendar.com), Pahala Plantation Cottages (pahalaplantationcottages.com), Local Productions, Inc. and the Edmund C. Olson Trust.

Monday, January 02, 2017

Ka`u News Briefs, Monday, Jan. 2, 2017

A ranger at Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park helps educate visitors whose numbers surged in the park over the holidays. See story below.

KA`U'S MEMBERS OF THE U.S. SENATE AND U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES take their seats Tuesday, Jan. 3 when the 115th Congress convenes in Washington, D.C. Sen. Brian Schatz will serve on the Senate's Appropriations, Commerce, Science and Transportation, and Indian Affairs Committees. He will also serve on the Select Committee on Ethics. Sen. Mazie Hirono will serve on the Judiciary Committee, as well as the  Committees on Armed Services, Energy and Natural Resources, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and Veterans' Affairs. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard will serve on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and House Armed Services Committee.
U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz says he will fight for the environment as he joins Hawai`i's
congressional delegation Tuesday for the convening of the 115 Congress of
the United States. Photo from Brian Schatz
 All three are expected to fight for the environment and work to retain many aspects of Obamacare, Medicare and Medicaid, including health insurance for adult dependent children, and a prohibition against denying insurance based on preconditions. The Republicans and President-Elect Donald Trump have vowed to repeal Obamacare.
     On environmental issues, Sen. Brian Schatz is expected to fight to defend President Obama's declaration on Dec. 20, which put a permanent ban on offshore oil and gas drilling in large areas of the Arctic and Atlantic. "This is a major step toward protecting our oceans and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels," said Schatz.  The Hawai`i senator said that while Obama "called his action a permanent ban, Donald J. Trump, and a Republican Congress will be able to roll back some recent environmental regulations." 
       Schatz said he will do everything he can to block the nomination of climate change denier Scott Pruitt, named by Trump to head the Environmental Protection Agency. He called the nomination of Pruitt a "four alarm fire for the environmental community and anybody who cares about clean air and clean water." Pruitt has sued the EPA several times as Attorney General for Oklahoma, to overturn bans on such pollutants as smog, soot, arsenic and mercury. Schatz said Pruitt is "on the wrong side of science, on the wrong side of history." Schatz said Pruitt "is not qualified to lead the EPA."
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard will serve on the Armed
Services and Foreign Affairs Committees.
Photo from Tulsi Gabbard
Sen. Mazie Hirono will serve on the
Judiciary, Veterans Affairs, Armed
Services and more committees.
Photo from Mazie Hirono
    Schatz called the Pruitt nomination "a-historical" without any historical precedent. He noted that the Republican administrations of both Presidents Bush did not appoint  EPA administrators who intended to dismantle the EPA. Schatz called Pruitt "someone who has made a professional out of denying the science of climate change. This is someone who has made a profession out of undermining the ability of the EPA to enforce the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act." He said the "EPA has an obligation to administer the law. The Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act are still on the books. This is scary stuff."
     Concerning the Paris Agreement with nearly 200 countries signing on to policies that could reduce global warming and adopt clean energy,  Schatz said it would be sad for the U.S. to abdicate its world leadership in clean energy. He said China would like to take that lead and the U.S. could lose not only the moral high ground but also much business associated with producing clean energy.   
      Schatz said the U.S. Senate has 48 Democrats who could vote against Trump's EPA nomination and would need 51 votes against Pruitt to deny him the EPA post. Schatz said there are four or five Republicans who could cross over. He is asking them "to put their country first, to put the next generation first, to put the planet first and put partisan politics aside and reject the climate denier. ...Here's the litmus test for them: If you are not a climate denier, you can not vote for this administrator of the EPA," said Schatz.  
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The delta collapse at Kamokuna in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park on Dec. 31. Photo from NPS

THE COLLAPSE OF THE LAVA DELTA INTO THE OCEAN on New Years Eve at Kamokuna is drawing more analysis by U.S. Geological Service scientists, who are also issuing cautionary notices to onlookers.  
    They reported today that "The episode 61g flow is still active and entering the ocean at Kamokuna. Nearly all of the lava delta at Kamokuna collapsed into the ocean on Dec. 31. Also, a large section of the older sea cliff east of the lava delta collapsed into the sea. The collapsed part of the sea cliff extended about 180 m (590 ft) east of the delta edge, and cut inland about 70 m (230 ft) from the shoreline!
     "As a strong caution to visitors viewing the episode 61g flow ocean entry (where lava meets the sea), there are additional significant hazards besides walking on uneven surfaces and around unstable, extremely steep sea cliffs. Venturing too close to an ocean entry exposes you to flying debris created by the explosive interaction between lava and water. Also, the new land created is unstable because it is built on unconsolidated lava fragments and sand. This loose material can easily be eroded away by surf, causing the new land to become unsupported and slide into the sea. In several instances, such collapses, once started, have also incorporated parts of the older sea cliff.       
     "Prominent cracks observed in the surface of the relatively large eastern lava delta at Kamokuna indicate instability and an increased potential for larger collapse events. Finally, the interaction of lava with the ocean creates a corrosive seawater plume laden with hydrochloric acid and fine volcanic particles that can irritate the skin, eyes, and lungs."
     See  fact sheets for additional information: http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2000/fs152-00/
For comprehensive information on volcanic air pollution, see the vog dashboard at: www.ivhhn.org/vog/
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VISITATION TO HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK surged over the holidays. Parking lots at popular destinations like Nāhuku (Thurston Lava Tube), Jaggar Museum and Kīlauea Visitor Center were at capacity.  "With Kīlauea erupting from two locations, the park remains a powerful draw for visitors who want to see volcanic activity. As a result, the park is very crowded, especially during peak hours between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m.," said an HVNP statement.
     Chief Ranger John Broward said,  “We’ve had some visitors wait up to an hour to park, and we have park rangers working in traffic control. We remind everyone to please be patient and treat rangers and other drivers with respect and aloha.”      
     Park rangers offer these tips so all visitors have a positive and memorable time in the national park:
- Plan to arrive early and explore Nāhuku (Thurston Lava Tube) before 9 a.m. Not only is parking available, but the lava tube is often empty of people. Birdwatching at Nāhuku is best in the early morning. - Want to hike Kīlauea Iki Trail? This four-mile trek is one of the most scenic and popular trails in the park. Plan to hit the trail by 7 a.m., and be out by 10 a.m. - Drive and explore Chain of Craters Road. This historic and scenic road originates at the summit of Kīlauea and stretches 19 miles to Hōlei Sea Arch. Many overlooks, pullouts, and lesser-known hikes (Mauna Ulu, Pu‘uloa Petroglyphs) abound – and it’s an ideal way to avoid the crowds and see more of what the park offers. The Coastal Ranger Station at the end of Chain of Craters Road is the starting point for a 10-mile roundtrip hike to see lava enter the ocean at Kamokuna.
- Night owl or early riser? The best time to observe the glow from Halema‘uma‘u is before sunrise, or after 9 p.m., when most visitors have left. The park is open 24 hours a day. Visitors can see what Kīlauea is doing before arrival by checking the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory webcams.                            
- Jaggar Museum is the closest visitors can get to the summit eruption’s glowing lava lake, and it’s the park’s most popular spot after 5 p.m. (More than 8,000 people were counted one evening at Jaggar Museum during the holidays.) Those who can’t avoid peak hours, consider observing the glow from a less-crowded location, like Keanakāko‘i, ‘Akanikōlea (Steam Vents), or Kīlauea Overlook. From Kīlauea Overlook, it’s a short walk to Jaggar Museum along Crater Rim Trail, but bring a flashlight and a jacket.  
- Mauna Loa Road is well worth exploring during peak hours, especially in good weather. Kīpukapuaulu offers an easy, forested hike, and the views and birdwatching are excellent along the way to the Mauna Loa Overlook at 6,662 feet.
- Visit Kahuku. Kahuku is free, never crowded, and is open to the public every Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the month. Located on the mauka (inland) side of Highway 11 near mile marker 70.5 in Ka‘ū.
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34 YEARS AND COUNTING is the talk by Tina Neal, USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Scientist in Charge on Tuesday, Jan. 3 at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium at 7 p.m. She will discuss the ongoing eruption and etail the past year's activity at Kilauea Volcano. Free; park entrance fees apply.

KA`U COFFEE GROWERS MEETING is Tuesday, Jan. 3 at 6 p.m., Pahala Community Center.