May 13, 2015
A Hawaii city's mayor said he was happy to get slapped with a $17 million fine stemming from emissions from the closed Kapaa Landfill. The reason? The bulk of the funds will be allocated to the construction of a $16.1 million solar-energy project at the H-Power plant in Campbell Industrial Park.
According to Hawaii News Now, the Kapaa Landfill took in solid waste from 1969 until it closed in 1997. The city was ordered to have a gas capture system operating at the site by 2002 but it didn't have one in until 2013. That delay resulted in the $17 million fine.
But because the bulk of the funds will be allocated for a renewable energy project, Kailua Mayor Kirk Caldwell told HNN, "This is the type of fine that comes back and really pays dividends.... We are becoming more sustainable. With this money we are becoming greener."
The Honolulu Star Advertiser reported "The solar panels will have a capacity of 3.1 megawatts and will generate more than 5 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year — the equivalent of powering 800 Oahu households, which the EPA said will lessen Oahu’s dependence on fossil fuels. The city has budgeted $4 million annually for the project and expects to have it running within three years — long before the 2020 deadline."
In a statement, Assistant Attorney General John C. Cruden for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division said, “This settlement holds Honolulu accountable for past failures to collect and control toxic gases and greenhouse gas emissions from the Kapaa Landfill, but it also lays the foundation for better environmental stewardship in the future. Residents who call Oahu home will realize the benefits of this agreement which includes clean solar power production and reduced reliance on fossil fuels — for many years to come.”