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.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Ka`u News Briefs Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017

Hawai`i Sen. Brian Schatz took to the U.S. Senate floor yesterday to oppose the Donald Trump nomination of Scott Pruitt whom Shatz
called a "climate denier." Photo from C-SPAN
     "Having Scott Pruitt in charge of the EPA is bad for the air we breathe and the water that we drink, and it’s bad for American leadership on climate. It’s not that I just have a different view from Mr. Pruitt on the Environmental Protection Agency. It’s that he has made a career out of undermining the federal Clean Air and Clean Water Acts.
     "It’s not just that he’s a Republican or that he doesn’t share my views about clean energy. Look, I understand that when a Republican administration comes in, their EPA nominee is going to have a different view of what the agency should be doing. I’m not suggesting that we were going to get Henry Waxman or Jeff Merkley to run the President-Elect’s EPA. That’s not what’s going on here.
     "Here’s what it is, and I want people to listen carefully here. Scott Pruitt is a professional climate denier. That is his job. He has made his political bones trying to shred the EPA’s ability to enforce the laws that protect clean air and water.
Scott Pruitt, Trump nominee to run the EPA. Photo from C-Span
     "The core mission of the EPA is to safeguard public health by enforcing the laws on the books, and the cornerstones are the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. These laws were passed over 40 years ago with huge bipartisan majorities, and have been extremely successful.
     "It’s especially important for the dozens of young people watching CSPAN, to understand this: the state of the environment in the late 1960s was catastrophic, like out of a science fiction movie. But even for those of us who were around, it’s a good reminder of what the EPA does.
    "The Cuyahoga River in Ohio was so polluted that it caught on fire. Lake Erie was so polluted that almost nothing could live in it. Bacteria levels in the Hudson River were 170 times above levels that could be considered safe. Raw sewage was directly discharged into rivers and streams where children would swim. The FDA found that 87% of U.S. swordfish contained so much mercury that they were unfit for human consumption.
    "Then the Clean Water Act was passed, and we made incredible progress in the last 44 years. We still have a long way to go, as about one-third of our waterways are not yet fishable and swimmable, as the law requires.
     "But Scott Pruitt’s opposition for the Clean Water Act and EPA makes me terrified that we could go back to the bad old days of water pollution.
     "EPA’s enforcement of the Clean Air Act is an even bigger success story. This law has saved millions of lives, and improved the health of millions of others.
Windmills in Ka`u are part of clean energy progress for Hawai`i Island. Photo by Peter Anderson
     "EPA’s enforcement of the law has reduced air pollution by 70% since 1970. Smog levels in Los Angeles have fallen by two-thirds since its peak. Lead in our air is down 98%, carbon monoxide is down 85%, and sulfur dioxide is down 80%t. Acid rain is down over 50%t, and at a fraction of the anticipated cost.
     "But this progress is in serious jeopardy.
     "As Oklahoma’s Attorney General and as the head of the Republican Attorneys General Association, he dismantled the unit in his office charged with enforcing federal environmental laws and stood up a unit to undermine federal environmental law. He led opposition to the Clean Power Plan. He’s sued the federal government over a dozen times to prevent the implementation of rules that would protect our health and our environment. What he does is fight the EPA. That’s his thing.
     "As Oklahoma Attorney General—he literally—and I’m not making this up—he literally copy-and-pasted a letter from a major oil company onto official state attorney general letterhead and sent it to the EPA.
     "I’ve never met Mr. Pruitt, and I assume he’s personally a good guy, so I will say it like this: a person who works so closely with industries that pollute our air and water is an unusually bad fit to lead the EPA.
Solar panels on homes in Ka`u is are making the island more energy self-sufficient.
Photo by Julia Neal
 "Never before in the history of the EPA has a president nominated someone so opposed to the EPA to run the EPA. And, on the most significant environmental challenge of our generation, he’s aggressively wrong. He has said that the climate debate is 'far from settled,' and that 'scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connections to the actions of mankind.' This is, of course, nuts. The climate debate is settled, and has been for some time. More than 97% of climate scientists agree that the climate is changing, and that humans are responsible. Ask a scientist. Ask a farmer, ask a fisherman, ask a skier or snowboarder. If you don’t believe 97% of scientists, will you at least believe your own eyes?
     "His position even puts him at odds with the Department of Defense, which has called climate change a 'threat multiplier.'
     "But here’s the good news – we are actually making lots of progress in clean energy, almost all of it private sector driven. The cost of solar power has dropped by 60% in the last ten years, and more new solar capacity was added in 2016 than any other energy source. Wind power was by far the largest energy source added to the grid in 2015.
     "Renewable generation grew by about 20% over the last year, and the long-term extensions of renewable energy tax credits will help that trend continue in the future.
     "This comes at a time when public concern about climate change is at an eight-year high, and with three quarters of Americans -including half of Republicans – supporting federal efforts to reduce carbon pollution. But this progress is fragile, and confirming Scott Pruitt can undermine the momentum.
     "Again, here’s Mr. Pruitt, in his own words: About the Clean Power Plan, he has said: 'The EPA does not possess the authority under the Clean Air Act to accomplish what it proposes in the unlawful Clean Power Plan.' This is flat wrong.
     "Let me quickly explain a lawsuit called Massachusetts v. EPA. The Supreme Court ruled that the Clean Air Act requires EPA to regulate air pollution. Carbon pollution is a pollutant. So not only may the EPA regulate greenhouse gas emissions, they actually are required to under the law.
     "He has bragged that he 'led the charge with repeated notices and subsequent lawsuits against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.' On climate change, he said “Is it truly man-made and is this just simply another period of time where the Earth is cooling, increasing in heat? Is it just typical, natural type of occurrences as opposed [to] what the administration says?”
     "I cannot think of a person more ill-suited to run this agency.
     "On clean energy, the Chinese are leading. Mexico is leading. Europe is leading, Germany, Africa. The question isn’t whether the clean energy revolution will occur – the question is whether or not we will lead it or get left in the dust.
Olson Trust plans to add to clean energy in Ka`u by using plantation water
sources to make hydroelectric power. Photo by Jesse Tunison
     "So this is where we are: A nominee who does not understand the vital role of clean air, clean water, and protecting the environment has been nominated to lead the EPA. Who denies decades of scientific research.
     "To my Republican colleagues, I have had many encouraging, rational conversations about climate with you, but mostly in private. I say this: this vote is the litmus test, the one your grandkids will ask you about.
     "Being in the Senate is about making choices, and a lot of times, it’s gray. But this issue, this vote, is absolutely simple. Don’t vote for the climate denier. You can’t dabble in conservation or energy efficiency, or vote for a budget amendment recognizing the scientific consensus on climate change, and then vote yes on this nominee.
     "If you say you are not a climate denier, this is the point in your career when you get to prove it. If we find another nominee, even one that hates the Clean Power Plan, who shares your views on federalism, who shares your views about the United Nations, who shares your views about President Obama – that’s fair, that’s fine. But this nominee is out of bounds.
     "Please, consult your voters, your university experts. Talk to your kids –it’s their planet, it’s their future. Or consult with your conscience. I know that sometimes politics is complicated and the right thing is not so easy to determine in the fog of the battle. This is not one of those times. For future generations, for the planet, for the future of the Republican Party, you have got to get this one right.
     "If you are not a climate denier yourself, do not put one in charge of the EPA," said Schatz. Interviews and testimony on Trump's nominees are expected to continue into next week.

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HAWAI`I'S U.S. SENATORS Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz plan to attend the Inauguration of Donald Trump who becomes the President of the United States on Friday. Neither of Hawai`i's Representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives will attend the Inauguration. Ka`u's Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is on a fact-finding mission in the Middle East and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who represents urban Hawai`i, said she is ill and has been told by the doctor to avoid flying. More than 60 U.S. House members have pledged not to attend the Inauguration. Pres. Barack Obama and second place finisher in the Presidential Electoral College election, Hilary Clinton, will also attend. Trump takes the oath at noon, East Coast time to become the 45th President of the United States.

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Grants for community stewardship of Kawa come before the County
Council Fincnace Committee on Tuesday. Photo by Julia Neal
STEWARDSHIP GRANTS FOR KAWA are on the Tuesday, Jan. 24 agenda of the Hawai`i County Council's Committee on Finance. Four requests for stewardship grants from four non-profit organizations promise to provide conservation and restoration services at Kawa, a 784-acre area that was acquired by the County through the Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Commission with funding from government agencies.
     Kawa is a beach-front property located makai of Highway 11, between Whittington Beach Park and Pualu’u Black Sand Beach. The land is rich in archeological sites, a nesting spot for endangered Hawksbill turtles, and it is a popular surfing and fishing spot.
     The applications for funds to provide stewardship came from Na Mamo O Kawa ($48,850), Hawai‘i Wildlife Fund ($13,200), 
The Honu Project ($24,665), and Team Hawai‘i International Athletics ($354,190).
    The Council will review recommendations made by Charmaine L. Kamaka, Director of the County Department of Parks & Recreation, who reviewed the four applications. In her report to the County Council, she recommended the Hawai’i Wildlife Fund for funding. For more on Kamaka’s recommendations, please read the Ka’u News Briefs of Wednesday, January 11.
     Kawa is in the Ka’u district.  Maile David, who represents Ka’u on the County Council is also Chair of the Committee on Finance.  The committee on Finance can approve Kamaka’s recommendations, or make fresh recommendations, or table the applications or request more information.  The County Council has the final say in approving or refusing the applications. 

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KAMEHAMEHA SCHOOL PLAYED THE TROJANS in girls basketball at the new Ka`u Gym on Wednesay. In the JV game, Ka`u racked up 34 points wiht Chayla Ault making 8 of them. However, Kamehmeha scored 41 and took the win. In Varsity, Ka`u scored 26 With Alysha Gustafson-Savelia claiming 11 and Rishalyn Jara 6. Kamehameha won with 58 points.

PALM TRAIL HIKE, Saturday, Jan. 21, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Kahuku Unit of Hawai`i Voclanoes National Park near Ocean View. Free.

OIL PAINTING CLASS AT VOLCANO ART CENTER will be taught by Vicki Penne-Rohner on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Location is the VAC campus in Volcano Village. 967-8222.

HULA KAHIKO, Saturday, Jan. 21 at 10:30 p.m. on the hula platform near Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Kumu hula Pelehonuamea and Kekoa  Harman with Halau i Ka Leo Ola o Na Mamo perform. Na Mea Hula, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. on the gallery porch with Kumu Ab Valencia and Halau Hula Kalehuaki`eki`eika`iu.

Mongolian BBQ is Saturday, Jan. 21 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Kilauea Military Camp's Crater Rim Cafe in hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. 967-8356.