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Letters for Wednesday, March 15, 2023

A better idea

A Kaua‘i council person was recently quoted as saying, “We gotta burn trash.” Now that’s a half-baked idea.

Sure, politicos will receive campaign contributions for years from potential feasibility, siting and design consultants, as well as law firms (the Honolulu waste burning contract, with exhibits and amendments, is 83 MB (pdf) on my computer, with the basic contract well over 300 pages), and later from mainland companies vying for the contract to build.

And, yes, it may extend the life of the new landfill (it won’t be built, with environmental impact analyses and court battles, during the extended life of the current one), beyond the several generations now expected. Perhaps it might generate some electricity.

KIUC, though, doesn’t include any such facility in its plans to meet Kaua‘i’s needs with green energy, so it’s doubtful much net income will result; likely we’ll have to pay to burn the trash, on top of the $100 million to build the plant. And just a few jobs for locals will be created after the build by mainland companies.

It is far from a panacea. Trash will still have to go the landfill, as such plants don’t take all garbage, and are often closed for scheduled maintenance, repair and adverse weather. The residue is highly toxic ash. Disposal will be a headache.

Trash burning plants require a guarantee of supply, with financial penalties if enough garbage isn’t delivered.

So rather than eco-conscious, we’ll become a trash-encouraging county. Fine the hotels, which receive green certifications or reduce waste. Prohibit hog farms from receiving kitchen scraps from restaurants. Punish the residents, who still use the county’s home composters. Warn those crazy California tourists to leave their woke “no waste” principles at home; here, jump on the trash bandwagon. Reduce, reuse and recycle?

Trash can those ideas as antiquated. For a fraction of the cost (and potentially grants from Build Back Better), in less time, creating many more good paying local jobs, the county could construct a materials recovery facility. Low cost building and road materials, compost, sales of some recyclable items, and recovered plastics and other raw assets for scores of potentially new businesses (check out online what’s being done with recycled plastics) would result from an MRF. And, we’d stay in the 21st century in our thinking: trying to curb our appetites and effluvia to stay in communion with our ‘aina.

Jed Somit, Kapa‘a

Home birth

I support the choice to birth at home. I support a woman’s right to birth safely with midwives in the comfort of her own home.

This right has been challenged, restricted, in Hawai‘i, and I don’t support that.

I am the child of a mother who birthed all her children at home on the eastside of Kaua‘i, with amazing skilled women who were midwives helping deliver children for decades on Kaua‘i.

The law passed recently in Hawai‘i has made many practicing and traditional midwives and home birthing options illegal, even some who have been practicing safely for decades. This stripping of midwives from the islands for no reasonable or good reason outside of pushing every single mother into the hospital system to do it “their way” happened through the law requiring a level of certification so restrictive it is unavailable to midwives in Hawai‘i.

House Bill 955 attempted to fix this injustice and gross violation of women’s rights (and safety) this session in the State Capitol, but it has been blocked.

Thank you to the Kaua‘i County Council for hearing a resolution on March 6 to urge the Hawai‘i Legislature to enact a statute exempting birth attendants from the new state licensure requirements, without which midwives across Hawai‘i will be illegal starting July 1.

For far too long men in powerful positions have told women on their hands and knees birthing children, to lay on their back and do it their way.

Enough already. Legalize midwives and home birth.

Fern A. Holland, Kapahi
Source: The Garden Island

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