About The Kaʻū Calendar

Ka`u, Hawai`i, United States
A locally owned and run community newspaper (www.kaucalendar.com) distributed in print to all Ka`u District residents of Ocean View, Na`alehu, Pahala, Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, Volcano Village and Miloli`i on the Big Island of Hawai`i. This blog is where you can catch up on what's happening daily with our news briefs. This blog is provided by The Ka`u Calendar Newspaper (kaucalendar.com), Pahala Plantation Cottages (pahalaplantationcottages.com), Local Productions, Inc. and the Edmund C. Olson Trust.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Ka`u News Briefs September 17, 2011

Land between Pahala and Na`alehu would be cleared and planted in biofuel crops.  Photo by Julia Neal
THE PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION has posted more testimony on its website ahead of its decision on whether to approve a contract between `Aina Koa Pono and the electric company, which would allow rates to be raised to help pay for the $400 million refinery and biofuel farm planned for lands between Wood Valley and Pahala and Na`alehu. `Aina Koa Pono will give an update to the community this Monday at 6:30 p.m. at Pahala Community Center. The following testimony is recorded on the PUC docket.

Tom Rosenbaum
TOM ROSENBAUM, a 20-year resident of Na`alehu, wrote, “As a resident of this community, I have many concerns. How could a project of this magnitude be done without an Environmental Impact Statement? Impact on roads, pollution emissions to create 14 million gallons of jet fuel per year in 2014 and increasing to 16 million in 2015! At 5,000-gallon tanker truckloads to Kawaihae or Hilo ports, running at 100 percent of the time, that works out to eight runs per day. 
    “This technology has yet to be done anywhere else,” stated Rosenbaum. “Then to ask HECO and HELCO ratepayers to pick up the tab with out any say, seems totally unfair, since we already pay more per kilowatt hour than anyone else. If HELCO management has such a strong belief in this project let them issue preferred stock instead of riding on the coat tails of ratepayers,” he suggested.
    “The amount of money to create such a plan and have failure - seems more likely than not, since the University of Hawai`i study found the cost of making biodiesel more energy intensive than energy produced,” wrote Rosenbaum.
    “There are other alternative energy sources that exist and are proven that would benefit our community such as wind, solar and geothermal,” he stated.
    “Wood Valley has some of the worst pollution from volcanic emissions at present and to put a bio refinery there is like putting gas on the fire.
    “Please show public consideration before this project is allowed; at least let’s see a test site to prove this microwave polymerization technology works and will benefit all parties involved,” testified Rosenbaum.

Helen Behrmann
HELEN BEHRMANN, OF NA`ALEHU, wrote testimony to the PUC calling the proposed biodiesel supply contract between HECO and `Aina Koa Pono “ludicrous.” 
    She noted that the South Point wind farm did not need funding through rate hikes from the electric company to produce alternative energy.
    Behrmann expressed concern over building the refinery in an earthquake risk zone and the lack of precedent of using the proposed microwave technology to produce biofuels.
    Behrmann also asked about possible environmental effects of the biofuel plant and farms. “Ka`u has a long history of experiencing droughts. How are they going to irrigate what they need to grow when this occurs? What happens to our watershed? What happens to our air quality?” she asked.

Ron Self
RON SELF, an attorney and farmer who lives in Wood Valley, wrote testimony to the Public Utilities Commission, stating that a $350 million investment in the biofuel refinery in Ka`u “takes all the money out of energy possibilities for Hawai`i.” He called `Aina Koa Pono “a surrogate” company for Hawaiian Electric Co. and contended that its goal is to keep HECO’S outdated oil burning power plants operating into the future. He said the PUC is now trying to decide whether to have the ultimate cost borne by ratepayers. 
    Self contended that biofuels need massive amounts of land to produce raw material. “HECO wants to put the burdens and risk of investment on the people and secure Hawai`i’s energy future for itself for the next 50 years,” wrote Self.

TODAY IS GET THE DRIFT AND BAG IT!, a statewide coastal cleanup when the garbage on the beach is not only gathered up by volunteers but counted and put into a database for all of Hawai`i. The Hawai`i Wildlife Fund and other organizations are cleaning at Kamilo and Ka`alu`alu today.

VOLCANO ART CENTER’S FALL ART MARKET takes place today and tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at its Niaulani Campus in Volcano Village. Fine arts created locally will be available for sale from the artists. There will also be demonstrations and hands-on activities.

ONE JOURNEY, the local group who won the statewide Brown Bags to Stardom talent contest, is scheduled to perform at the Hawai`i County Fair in Hilo today at 11 a.m.

A PLANT AND SEED EXCHANGE takes place tomorrow from noon to 3 p.m. at Na`ohulelua Historical Church and garden on Kamaoa Road.