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State briefs for October 30

Navy’s Hawaii fuel tank plan update rejected

HONOLULU (AP) — State and federal regulators have rejected a U.S. Navy plan to upgrade a fuel storage facility in Hawaii, asking for more information about protection measures for the underground tanks.

The Hawaii Department of Health and the federal Environmental Protection Agency issued a letter Monday saying the military’s proposal for the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility “lacks detail, clarity, rationale and justification.”

The Navy submitted the plan in September 2019, five years after a 27,000-gallon leak happened at the Honolulu storage site.

The agencies said the proposal does not go far enough toward protecting Oahu’s Southern Oahu Basal Aquifer from possible damage caused by the 20 underground tanks.

The Navy “has not demonstrated to the regulatory agencies that the proposed alternative is the most protective of the groundwater and drinking water,” the letter said.

The agencies offered the Navy and the Defense Logistics Agency “an opportunity to cure the deficiencies and resubmit the decision document.”

The Navy’s proposal for “double-wall equivalency secondary containment” or removal of fuel from Red Hill around the year 2045 requires further discussion and a more precise definition of double-wall equivalency, the agencies said.

Retired official fined $5K for accepting meals

HONOLULU (AP) — A former top examiner for the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs has been fined $5,000 for accepting free meals from a vendor he oversaw.

The state Ethics Commission announced the fine levied against Tian Xiao.

Xiao was the chief examiner of the Financial Surveillance and Examination Branch for the commerce department’s Insurance Division before retiring in late 2019.

Xiao accepted about $654 worth of meals, including dinner for himself and his wife at the upscale Nobu Honolulu restaurant that cost $500 for a party of three, the ethics commission said.

Xiao allegedly violated the state’s Gifts Law and Gifts Reporting Law by accepting four meals from vendor Risk &Regulatory Consulting, LLC. in August and October 2018 and July and September 2019, the commission said.

He failed to file gift disclosure statements for any of the meals, the commission said.

Xiao said he was responsible for negotiating a contract rate for Risk &Regulatory Consulting. He monitored the company’s work conducting financial examinations of regulated insurance companies on behalf of the state insurance division, the commission said.

Xiao considered the meals with unidentified company representatives to be social dinners and said he took them hiking and paid for meals, baked goods, coffee and other snacks on occasion, the commission said. Xiao could not immediately be reached for comment.

Judge: Couple to face trial together over missing kids

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A couple charged with conspiring to hide the bodies of two missing children in a case connected to the parents’ doomsday beliefs and the mysterious deaths of their previous spouses will stand trial together, an Idaho judge said Thursday.

But attorneys for Chad and Lori Daybell could ask to have the cases split in the future if they feel their clients won’t get fair treatment in a joint trial, Judge Steven Boyce said.

Prosecutors say the Daybells conspired to hide or destroy the bodies of Lori’s children, 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan.

The two kids had been missing since September, and investigators found their remains buried on Chad Daybell’s rural Idaho property on June 9.

Investigators said the couple lied to police about the children’s whereabouts but haven’t said how they believe the children died. The Daybells have pleaded not guilty to conspiracy charges.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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