Wastewater project lawsuit to go on

A judge denied Anaergia Services’ request to dismiss portions of a lawsuit challenging the approval of an environmental impact statement for its project with Maui County for a renewable energy conversion and sludge processing project at the Wailuku-Kahului Wastewater Reclamation Facility.

The ruling by 2nd Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza, who presides over Environmental Court, followed a hearing Wednesday.

The Sierra Club Maui Group and Maui Tomorrow filed the lawsuit over the project that involves installing an anaerobic digester to produce methane gas from energy crops grown on 500 acres of former Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. lands. The gas would be refined at the Kahului wastewater facility site and fuel a combined heat-and-power engine to generate electricity for the treatment plant located on 18.8 acres next to the ocean on Amala Place.

The county joined Anaergia in seeking to dismiss parts of the lawsuit challenging the county’s unwritten practice of subjecting environmental impact statements prepared by an applicant to a lower level of scrutiny than those prepared by agencies. Anaergia prepared the environmental impact statement that is the subject of the lawsuit.

The plaintiffs contend the environmental review failed to adequately consider predicted sea-level rise.