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Monday, December 6, 2021
December 6, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:29 PM :: 1537 Views

Forgotten Honouliuli: Jack Burns, Police Spy

‘Catastrophic’ Red Hill Failure Could Lead to Development Moratorium

SA: … Honolulu would face some serious pain if the aging tanks that store some 187 million gallons of Navy jet and diesel fuel at Red Hill were to suffer a catastrophic leak.

The aquifer that lies 100 feet below the 78-year-old Red Hill Bulk Fuel Facility could become unusable for decades, officials with the Honolulu Board of Water Supply warn.

It would also render useless Oahu’s largest and most productive well, the Halawa shaft, which sits less than a mile from Red Hill. The Ha­lawa shaft produces 20% of the water — 10 million to 20 million gallons of water a day — for some 450,000 residents and other customers from metropolitan Honolulu to Waikiki and all the way to Hawaii Kai.

And that would likely lead to a decade or more of mandatory Honolulu water conservation mandates, weakened water pressure, a construction moratorium and higher water rates across the island.

“It could go on for a very long time,” said Erwin Kawata, chief of the Honolulu Board of Water Supply water quality division. “Because to try to install a water source to replace the Halawa shaft would not occur overnight. It would take several years to design, construct and fund a replacement equal to the Halawa shaft. It could take hundreds of millions of dollars.” …  

RAND: Measures to Protect Airbase Bulk Fuel Stocks

read … Worst-case scenario puts Oahu aquifer at risk

Gov. Ige joins Hawaii’s congressional delegation in calling for immediate Red Hill fuel storage closure

SA: … Gov. David Ige has joined Hawaii’s congressional delegation in calling for the Navy to shut down its Red Hill fuel storage operation immediately.

Ige and U.S. Sens. Brian Schatz and Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), and Reps. Ed Case and Kaiali‘i Kahele, all Democrats, released a joint statement this evening calling for the Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro, who is in Hawaii for the 80th anniversary of the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, to suspend operations at Red Hill in the aftermath of the contamination of drinking water at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, and the surrounding areas.

“Test results confirming contamination of drinking water at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam show that the Navy is not effectively operating the World War II-era facility and protecting the health and safety of the people of Hawaii,” the joint statement said. “We are calling for the Navy to immediately suspend operations at Red Hill while they confront and remedy this crisis.”…

On Thursday, the Navy said recent testing of its Red Hill well detected the presence of petroleum contaminants.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported today that Navy testing from July, August and September also indicated the presence of petroleum contaminants, but the state Health Department was not informed until Nov. 24, and the information was not made public until Thursday….

read … Gov. Ige joins Hawaii’s congressional delegation in calling for immediate Red Hill fuel storage closure

A crisis of care

MN: … A long time Maui resident we know has been trying to find a doctor for nearly two months. Her previous physician retired and the one before that moved away. Though she is hurting and needs help, she has been told time after time that the doctors she would like to see are too busy. The physicians are either not taking new patients or their earliest available appointment is deep into next year….

A Physician Workforce Assessment released a year ago by the University of Hawaii’s John A. Burns School of Medicine reported that Hawaii was short more than 1,000 doctors. Maui County was reportedly short 138 doctors at the end of 2019 and that number has likely increased.

Dr. Colleen Inouye, a Kahului gynecologist, who serves as state treasurer and Maui director of the Hawaii Independent Physicians Association, says access to care is “poor” on Maui.

“I’d say we are in a crisis,” Inouye said. “When a patient cannot get a family physician or a specialist in a timely manner, and then on top of that, be seen by that physician in a timely manner, that is definitely a crisis. It affects the health of our community.”

Inouye says the shortfall is caused by a variety of factors. Hawaii loses homegrown talent due the limited enrollment at the Burns School of Medicine, and also because of the lack of opportunities to do residencies in the state. She says those bright students often end up studying and locating elsewhere.

“First of all, there are plenty of well-qualified students from Maui who want to become physicians,” Inouye said. “There’s just not enough spots at the John A. Burns School.”

The high costs of living and practicing in Hawaii also play major roles. Inouye says professionals thinking about moving here used to be put off by our high real estate prices. Now they cannot even find housing.

Physicians in private practice must pay Hawaii state general excise tax on the medical services they render. They cannot, however, pass that cost onto Medicare and Medicaid patients due to the set amounts those programs pay providers. It hurts doubly that the Medicare reimbursements they receive are less than in other states like Alaska because of Hawaii’s low Medicare Geographic Practice Cost Index, or GPCI.

read … A crisis of care

Veto Bill 135: Sunscreen policy calls for thoughtful patience, not fear

SA: … When faced with both environmental and public health challenges, we sometimes find ourselves having to make difficult trade-offs. Yet as difficult as these decisions can be, we must not make them hastily, or we risk compounding our problems rather than solving them.

That is exactly the predicament facing Maui Mayor Michael Victorino. Before him — for signature or veto — is a bill passed recently by the Maui County Council in response to pressure from environmental activists. This misguided but well-intended law, known as Bill 135, would ban the sale, distribution and use of all non-mineral sunscreens in Maui County on the grounds that sunscreen ingredients negatively affect coral reefs. If passed, this ban will remove a majority of sunscreens currently on the shelf.

However, the notion that sunscreens are causing major damage to coral reefs has not actually been proven yet. Dr. Ku‘ulei Rodgers, principal investigator of the Coral Reef Ecology Lab and the Coral Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, has researched coral for the past 30 years and is known for her research on Hanauma Bay. In a recent Star-Advertiser article Rodgers explained, “There is no strong evidence to state sunscreens threaten coral reefs … Our coral reef ecology lab has not seen the effects of sunscreen use on bleaching in our monitoring efforts.”…

I have personally treated more than 20,000 patients and over 30,000 skin cancers. I have also been involved in sunscreen research and development for 25 years and plan to launch a line of “reef safe” sunscreen products next year. In one sense, Bill 135 might be good for my business since 80% of my sunscreen line is mineral. Yet it would go against everything to which my fellow dermatologists and I have dedicated our lives.

It’s for this reason that the Hawaii Dermatological Society and the American Academy of Dermatology strongly oppose the restrictions that would be imposed if Victorino fails to veto Bill 135….

REALITY: Chemical Company Behind Anti-Sunscreen Campaign

read … Sunscreen policy calls for thoughtful patience, not fear

The amount of heroin confiscated by police has increased nearly sevenfold since 2020

BIN: … The amount of heroin confiscated by police has increased nearly sevenfold since 2020, and the presence of the synthetic opioid additive fentanyl within recovered heroin and methamphetamine seems to be growing, according to statistics from Hawaiʻi Police Department….

After seeing a steep decline in the drug in 2020, recovering only 288.65 grams of heroin from January to October, HPD statistics show detectives confiscated 1,609.1 grams of the illicit drug as of last month. In October alone, HPD recovered 5.9 grams.

During the same timeframe in 2019, police recovered 1,417.08 grams of heroin. HPD’s Area I Vice Section Lt. Royce Serrao said there were large heroin seizures in both 2019 and 2021. He couldnʻt say why there were fewer recoveries in 2020….

BIN: Use of Naloxone Grows as Overdose-Reversing Antidote Becomes More Accessible

read … Heroin Recoveries, Fentanyl Investigations on the Rise

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