Weeks have passed since environmental human rights advocate, Carroll Cox first began calling attention to what turned out to be the second unauthorized release of contaminated water (leacheate) and mud — containing garbage, heavy metals and chemicals such as chlordane, fecal matter and medical waste (including vials of blood and syringes) from Oahu’s huge Waimanalo Gulch Landfill (dump).
Cox had warned officials at the Hawai`i State Department of Health in early January of 2011, that just such catastrophic events would likely occur during Hawaii’s winter rains. Cox soon began to present his findings on his regularSunday Carroll Cox Show on KWAI 1080-AM radio and wrote Needles and Other Nonsense: Medical Waste Pollutes Ocean By Ko Olina Resort.
But instead of cooperation from City, County and State Health Department
officials, Cox was met with a barrage of misinformation, stonewalling, lies and
character assassination in the form of a January 27, 2011, Honolulu City and
County press release labeling key elements of Cox’s statements as “false and
Carroll Cox said, “From past experience, I expected some bureaucratic push-back
but never anything like this — and certainly not from this new administration.”
Cox is now calling for the resignation or removal of Deputy Health Director Gary Gill and for a federal investigation into the whole sordid mess by U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa who, as a long-time resident and former State Senator representing the area, has her own long experience in fighting to regulate and close the controversial city dump.
In apublished interview (January 28, 2010) with Hawaii’s Civil Beat, Gill said the release of the contaminated water and debris had been approved by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA.) Gill quickly backtracked on his statement after Cox called the EPA and learned the Deputy Health Director ‘s
statements were not true. Now, according to Civil Beat, Gill is claiming, he started working at the Department of Health on Jan. 3 and could not speak to what had happened before his tenure.”
Cox says, “This too is an outright fabrication. Gill’s appointment was announced on December 18th, 2010, and I have it on good authority — from eye witnesses — that Gill was taken on a tour of the problematic landfill and briefed by officials of the Solid; Hazardous Waste Branch of Hawai`i’s Department of Health in late December of 2010 — weeks before these recent disasters. He knew about the potentially catastrophic situation long before January 3, 2011 and he failed to act.”
Cox noted,”Gary Gill must go. The public health crisis caused by his
inattention and gross misrepresentations of the facts have culminated in
unfathomable financial and environmental costs to the local community, surfers
and swimmers, paddlers, fishermen, to the Ko Olina Resort hotel and their gated
condo development, the Disney Company’s new Aulani Resort & Spa, and to the
dolphins, turtles and monk seals that frequent the area daily. His failure to
act responsibly and in a timely manner has caused delays on bulk and other trash pickup all over Oahu and the entire affair has badly tarnished Hawaii’s image around the world. Why wasn’t this situation immediately declared an emergency?
Gill’s reckless abandon with our public health and welfare has demonstrated that he should not be leading the Department of Health which is currently devoid of a director.