|`Aina Koa Pono says that 200 of the 13,000 acres proposed for its biofuels production have been set aside for|
growing food crops along Wood Valley Road. Photo by Julia Neal
Ono told area residents who attended public hearings on Aug. 2 in Hilo and Kona that they can still send in their comments and ideas to the consumer advocate. Testimony can be submitted to the consumer advocate at Division of Consumer Advocacy, 335 Merchant Street, Room 326, Honolulu, HI 96813 or email@example.com.
NUMEROUS PEOPLE FROM KA`U who attended the public hearings yesterday had questions about the project. Some asked the PUC to be the governmental body to require an Environmental Impact Statement, since Hawai‘i county and state agencies have said that none is needed, as the refinery is tied to renewable energy and agriculture.
Supporters of the project were the electric companies, the firm that won the contract to engineer the refinery, a representative of the carpenter’s union, a retired sugar union leader from Pāhala, a representative from investors and a representative of property owners leasing land for the project. Mayor Billy Kenoi submitted a letter of support but cautioned `Aina Koa Pono to work closely with the Ka`u community.
A retired professor said he wanted to say he could support such an alternative energy project but had many unanswered questions, including proof that the proposed microwave processing of biomass would actually work.
Several speakers said they dislike the name chosen by the company – `Aina Koa Pono – which means “good for the land.”
Supporters pointed to hundreds of jobs promised by the ‘Āina Koa Pono team and the need to relieve Hawai‘i from the importation of fossil fuel.
`Aina Koa partner Chris Eldridge said the company will be answering all questions that came up during the public hearings.
More coverage of the public hearings will follow.
|A meeting about designating Hwy 11 through Ka`u as a|
Scenic Byway is scheduled this evening in Pahala.
Photo by Michael Martin-Neal