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.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Ka`u News Briefs Jan. 6, 2013

John Carroll (left) and Michael Thieman, of `Aina Koa Pono, worked with Lance Santo (center), from Hawai`i Agricultural Research Center, in 2011 to plant and grow sugar cane and bana grass to see which would do best on the proposed biofuels farm between
 Wood Valley and Pahala and Na`alehu. Photo by Michael Neal
HAWAI`I ELECTRIC INDUSTRIES CHAIR Constance Lau says HEI and its subsidiaries “will work with the community and potential renewable-energy developers this year, using requests for proposals to determine the best sources for O`ahu, Maui and the Big Island,” reports a story in Friday’s Pacific Business News.
HEI chair Constance Lau
      The Duane Shimogawa article reports: “Some say that the success of the Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc.’s companies is inextricably linked to the health of Hawai`i and its economy.
      “That is why HEI President and CEO Constance Lau plays such an important role as the state moves farther away from its dependence on imported oil,” Shimogawa concludes.
      Lau told Shimogawa that “together with American Savings Bank’s financing of clean-energy projects, our companies aim to lead Hawai`i’s transition to a clean-energy economy and to break the state’s dependence on imported oil, which hurts the pocketbooks of Hawai`i families and our state’s economy.”
      One of HEI’s proposals is to finalize a fixed-rate, 20-year contract to purchase diesel that would be manufactured by `Aina Koa Pono at a proposed refinery off Wood Valley Road above Pahala. The company promises 400 union construction jobs and 200 permanent farm and factory jobs. Land that is currently in pasture, trees and brush would be cleared between Pahala and Na`alehu, and `Aina Koa Pono would plant biofuel crops to be harvested for the refinery where biomass would be dried into pellets. The pellets would be processed in microwave units that would turn them into diesel. The diesel would be trucked up Hwy 11 to the Kona power plant.
      The state Public Utilities Commission turned down the proposal last year based on the projected high cost of the fuel, and the hui has reapplied with a lower fixed price  – some $200 per barrel. Opponents say that such a long-term contract for pricing higher than current costs for oil could deter other alternative energies, like geothermal, which could be much less expensive. Opponents also state that an emerging local beef industry could lose pasture, and coffee farmers, whose demand is outstripping supply, could lose opportunity to expand, if most of the good ag land goes into biofuel crops.
     The County of Hawai`i is participating in the legal discussions before the PUC. Mayor Billy Kenoi stated that the island does not need more renewable energy. "We need cheaper renewable energy." Environmental and consumer group Life of the Land has intervened in the PUC proceedings and the Consumer Advocate and state Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism are also participating. Testimony from citizens and various agencies can be seen on the PUC website at http://puc.hawaii.gov/dockets. Click on `Aina Koa Pono and on Documents.

OCEAN CHAMPIONS has bestowed the title of Congressional Champion for the 113th Congress on both Sen. Mazie Hirono and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa. The political action committee endorses and backs candidates. It bills itself as the “Only Political Voice for the Ocean.” The PAC is “dedicated to protection of the ocean and its wildlife. Ocean Champions is focused on building champions for ocean conservation in the U.S. Congress,” says its website at www.oceanchampions.org.
Rep. Colleen Hanabusa
      According to Ocean Champions, in her first term in Congress, Hanabusa stole “the spotlight with her active, bipartisan, responsible governance. Representing the state of Hawai`i, she maintains a firm commitment to protecting the health of the environment and ecosystems that are so important to her state. She has co-sponsored Amendments to the Endangered Species Act that increased the protections for endangered species and joined the Congressional Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition which promotes the development of renewable energy technologies. Furthermore, in the debate over offshore drilling, she proposed amendments that require the calculation of a worst-case scenario, and, that the responsible party demonstrates it has the capacity and technology to respond to future leaks. Rep. Hanabusa’s cool-headed demeanor and philosophy of bipartisan cooperation makes her an ideal ocean champion; a champion that protects our oceans through cooperation with a long-term, sustainable mindset."
      Ocean Champions points out that Hanabusa is co-sponsor of:
  • H.R. 738 (Coral Reef Conservation Act Reauthorization and Enhancement Amendments of 2011) 
  • H.R. 1171 (Marine Debris Act Reauthorization Amendments of 2011) 
  • H.R. 1229 (Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act of 2011) 
  • H.R. 1375 (Clean Water Protection Act of 2011) 
  • H.R. 1689 (Big Oil Welfare Repeal Act of 2011) 
  • H.R. 1761 (Marine Turtle Conservation Reauthorization Act of 2011) 
  • H.R. 1938 (North American-Made Security Act of 2011) 
Sen. Mazie Hirono
      According to Ocean Champions, “Mazie Hirono was committed to protecting the environment as the Representative for Hawai`i’s 2nd District. Since 2007, “the Congresswoman has co-sponsored legislation to prevent expanded offshore drilling, clean up ocean garbage and protect coral reefs. She has supported implementation of the National Ocean Policy and co-sponsored its legislative precursor, Oceans-21, because she knows that improved ocean governance is needed to protect, maintain and restore ocean and coastal resources for the future.”
      Ocean Champions points out that in 2012, Hirono sponsored two Coastal Preservation Acts for Hawai`i’s North Maui (H.R. 3907) and Ka`u coasts (H.R. 3908). In 2011, she co-sponsored the West Coast Protection Act (H.R. 612), and the Coral Reef Conservation Act Reauthorization and Enhancement Amendments of 2011 (H.R. 738). Ocean Champions noted that Hirono is a member of many environmentally focused House committees and caucuses including the National Marine Sanctuary and House Oceans caucuses and the Water Resources and Environment subcommittee. “We look forward to Rep. Hirono championing new ocean conservation legislation in the Senate in 2013,” Ocean Champions states. Its website lists her accomplishments:
      Hirono Sponsored:
  • H.R. 288 (Renewable Energy Applied Partnerships (REAP) ACT of 2011) 
  • H.R. 3907 (North Maui Coastal Preservation Act of 2012) 
  • H.R. 3908 (Ka`u Coast Preservation Act of 2012) 
  • H.AMDT.469 to H.R.2112 ($3 million for preventive measures under the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act and the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act of 2011) 
      Hirono Co-Sponsored:
  • H.R. 612 (West Coast Ocean Protection Act of 2011) 
  • H.R. 738 (Coral Reef Conservation Act Reauthorization and Enhancement Amendments of 2011) 
  • H.R. 192 (Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries Boundary Modification and Protection Act of 2011) 
  • H.R. 501 (Implementing the Recommendations of the BP Oil Spill Commission Act of 2011) 
  • H.R. 502 (Clean Energy Technology Manufacturing and Export Assistance Act of 2011) 
  • H.R. 572 (Clean Ports Act of 2011) 
  • H.R. 601 (End Big Oil Tax Subsidies Act of 2011) 
  • H.R. 1171 (Marine Debris Act Reauthorization Amendments of 2011) 
  • H.R. 860 (Coral Reef Conservation Act Reauthorization and Enhancement Amendments of 2009) 
  • H.R. 81 (Shark Conservation Act of 2009) 
  • H.R. 2055 (Pacific Salmon Stronghold Conservation Act of 2009) 
  • H.R. 21 (Ocean Conservation, Education, and National Strategy for the 21st Century Act of 2009)
Residents can participate in Hawai`i County committee and Council
meetings, to be held this week in Hilo, at Ocean View Community Center.
HAWAI`I COUNTY COUNCIL COMMITTEE meetings begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday, and the full Council meets Wednesday at 9 a.m. in Hilo. Ocean View Community Center’s new remote testimony site is available for residents to participate in the meetings. 
      One resolution on the County Council’s agenda strongly urges the state to continue funding the HI-5 recycling program for another year while budget and related issues are addressed. Council member Margaret Wille, who introduced the measure, says an estimated $765,000 is needed to continue the program through the fiscal year.
      Agendas for the County Council and committee meetings are available at hawaiicounty.gov.

Lava enters the ocean 30 years after Kilauea Volcano's
current eruption began. Photo from USGS/HVO
AS PART OF VOLCANO AWARENESS MONTH, After Dark In The Park has programs every Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. This Tuesday, USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologist Tim Orr reviews highlights from the past 30 years of Kilauea’s ongoing east rift zone eruption and talks about recent developments. During its first three years, spectacular lava fountains spewed episodically from Pu`u `O`o vent. Since then, nearly continuous lava effusion has built a vast plain of pahoehoe lava that stretches from the volcano’s rift zone to the sea. Although the eruption has been relatively quiet during the past year, with mostly steady but unusually weak activity, it has produced some dramatic lava flows in past years. 

HAWAI`I WILDLIFE FUND’S first Ka`u Coast Cleanup for 2013 is this Saturday, Jan. 12. Volunteers meet at Wai`ohinu Park to carpool to Kamilo Point. Sign up with Megan Lamson at
769-7629 or kahakai.cleanups@gmail.com.