Hawaii Rep. Karen Awana sharply criticized a plan Monday that calls for using a rural property on the Waianae Coast as a place to store and dispose of a large cache of illegal fireworks.
The commercial-grade fireworks are the remnants of a stash that was involved in the 2011 explosion at a Waikele storage bunker that killed five people.
“This plan to bring hazardous fireworks into our backyard is downright exasperating,” Awana said in a statement. “Both the state and city have used the Waianae Coast as a dumping ground for far too long.”
Rep. Karen Awana official photo
Hawaii House of Representatives
She learned of the plan through a public notice in the Star-Advertiser last week that said the fireworks display firm Grucci Inc. is asking the state Department of Health for an emergency permit to store and dispose of the fireworks at 87-879 Paakea Road.
Awana, a Democrat who represents towns on the westside of Oahu, criticized government and company officials for not reaching out to the community about the proposal.
“We have seen the danger that it poses to the public and the community, and now they want to store and dispose of these fireworks here amongst our neighbors,” she said. “There has been no outreach or information from the parties involved with the members of the community who are being forced to bear this weight. While I still oppose this proposal, I will work towards facilitating a public meeting with all stakeholders so that the community will have an opportunity to be briefed about the plan and provide their input.”
The families of the five Donaldson Enterprises workers killed in the 2011 explosion have proposed a $1.5 million settlement with Ford Island Ventures, one of the eight companies they sued, the Associated Press reported last week.
Last year, westside residents were up in arms over the Hawaii Kai Marina Association hiring a trucking company that took sludge from the marina’s dredging project and dumped it on its property in Waianae.
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