State briefs 12/12


Sierra Club sues over new Hawaii solar tax credits

HONOLULU — The Sierra Club is asking a state court to invalidate new Hawaii Department of Taxation rules that change renewable energy tax credits for solar panel installations.

An Earthjustice attorney filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Sierra Club in circuit court in Honolulu on Tuesday. The complaint asks the court to reinstate the department’s earlier interpretation of the tax credits.

The department issued new rules last month, saying it wanted to provide clarity to taxpayers.

But the Sierra Club says the new rules will increase the cost of installing solar panels and fewer panels will be installed.

The new rules calculate tax credit eligibility by total output capacity. The old rules based eligibility on the number of independent connections to the project’s electrical system.

Sen. Inouye remains hospitalized

WASHINGTON — Sen. Daniel Inouye remains under observation in a Washington-area hospital.

The senator’s office said Tuesday that the situation remains unchanged from Monday. Doctors are monitoring the 88-year-old Hawaii Democrat’s intake of oxygen and trying to regulate it.

Inouye, a decorated World War II veteran, has long been a dominant force in Hawaii politics. He chairs the powerful Appropriations Committee and is the Senate’s president pro tempore, third in the presidential line of succession.

He is the country’s longest serving senator, now completing his 50th year in the chamber.

Forecasters warn of extreme fire danger

HONOLULU — The National Weather Service says dry, gusty conditions in many areas of Hawaii pose an extreme fire danger.

The Weather Service early Tuesday issued a red flag warning for leeward areas of Hawaii, mostly areas on Niihau, Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Maui and the Big Island. The warning was issued because of strong, gusty winds and drier than normal conditions.

The warning was issued until 6 p.m.

Big Island stadium renovations to begin Monday

HILO — A multi-million dollar project to renovate the Big Island’s Edith Kanakaole stadium will go ahead as scheduled on Monday, with the goal of having the new and improved stadium done in time for the 50th annual Merrie Monarch Festival.

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald says the $3.2 million project includes building a dressing room and larger lobby, as well as upgrading the stadium’s restrooms. The dressing room will be in a new 4,200-square-foot multipurpose building to be located adjacent to the stadium. The lobby area in front of the stadium will be expanded toward the parking lot.

The festival runs from March 31 to April 6.