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.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Ka`u News Briefs Monday, Feb. 25, 2013

Sen. Russell Ruderman, seen here with his staff, from left, Michael Greenough, Trina Ishii, Dayva Keolanui and Eileen O`Hara, holds a talk story session tomorrow at 5 p.m. at Pahala Plantation House. Photo from Office of Sen. Russell Ruderman.
KA`U GYMNASIUM AND DISASTER SHELTER is expected to be under construction soon, following a vote yesterday by the Hawai`i Island Burial Council to approve a plan to preserve in place several burials in a lava tube on Ka`u High School campus. The entry to the lava tube where burials were found is next to land where the gym will be built and had been used as a dry well and storm drain. When the grading permit for the gym and shelter was submitted for review by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources’ State Historical Preservation Division, the burials on a shelf in the lava tube were noted and construction delayed until a plan could be made for protecting the graves.
      The Burial Council had concerns that the lava tube, under the road entering the campus, might not be strong enough to carry construction vehicles and could collapse the lava tube and damage access to the burials. It was concluded, however, that the tube has withstood other heavy vehicles such as school buses over the years and could withstand the weight of construction vehicles.
      The recommendation of the Burial Council is to leave the burials in place and to seal the dry well – storm drain. Kauanoe Ho`omanawanui, Burial Sites Specialist for the Big Island, said she will draft a letter reflecting the Burial Council’s approval within the week.
      The $18 million gym and shelter will be operated by the county Department of Parks & Recreation and will become the main gymnasium for the high school, junior high and elementary school campus. It would serve as a shelter during natural disasters and also be open for public recreation and community events.

MORE THAN 650 VOLUNTEERS gathered data from the shores of Hawai`i Island, O`ahu and Kaua`i during Saturday’s Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Ocean Count. The count is a yearly shore-based census that provides snapshot data on humpback whales. Participants tally humpback whale sightings and document the animals’ surface behavior during the survey.
      Volunteers collected data from 57 sites statewide. At Ka Lae, 15 whales were seen between 8:30 a.m. and 8:45 a.m. A total of 287 whales were seen statewide during the 9 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. time period, the most of any time period throughout the day’s count, with 54 sites reporting.
      Preliminary data detailing whale sightings by site location is available at www.sanctuaryoceancount.org.
      One more Sanctuary Ocean Count is scheduled to take place on Saturday, March 30.
      For more information on becoming a Sanctuary Ocean Count volunteer visit sanctuaryoceancount.org or hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov or call 1-888-55-WHALE ext. 253.

REGARDING THE `AINA KOA PONO proposal, the Public Utilities Commission on Tuesday published responses to more questions asked by the state Consumer Advocate, Hawai`i County and Life of the Land. The questions concern the proposed contract for `Aina Koa Pono to annually sell, at a fixed price for 20 years, 16 million gallons of diesel that would be manufactured at a refinery off Wood Valley Road above Pahala. The fuel, produced in 27 microwave units, would be sold to Hawai`i Electric Light and Hawaiian Electric Companies, with most of it trucked up Hwy 11 to a power plant in Kona. Electric bills on O`ahu and the Big Island would increase.
      Life of the Land asked about externalities, or consequences of an economic activity that are experienced by unrelated third parties.
      According to Life of the Land, HECO and HELCO have only listed positive externalities such as added greenscape and jobs related to the AKP project. “Yet, in a previous docket, HECO submitted its Externalities Workbook to the Commission which listed hundreds of negative externalities,” Life of the Land stated. “Does HECO/HELCO believe that there are any potential negative externalities associated with this proposal?” Life of the Land asked.
      The utilities responded that they “believe there are externalities associated with any new large-scale facility/project. The AKP project may have potential negative externalities, but it is difficult to determine the impact, if any, it will have. Also, it is important to note that a positive externality that impacts one group may create a negative externality for others. For example, the creation of jobs for any new project may result in the loss of jobs for others. Below is a short list of potential negative externalities based on the Externalities Workbook which was filed in Hawaiian Electric’s Integrated Resource Plan 1998-2017 (“IRP-2”), Docket No. 95-0347:
  • Outdoor air pollution, specifically possible increase in nitrogen oxides. 
  • Fuel spills or leaks (fuel storage and transportation) 
  • Economic 
  • Social issues, specifically traffic congestion 
  • Land use, specifically roadway damages and noise. 
      “The Companies have assessed externalities in the context of the subject proceeding, namely the Companies’ request for Commission approval of a biofuel supply contract. The Companies maintain that it is beyond the scope of this proceeding, and the role of the utility, to assess externalities more directly associated within the AKP project itself. Such an assessment of the AKP project is more appropriately addressed in the project permitting process, or in an environmental impact statement or environmental assessment process if so required.
      Life of the Land also asked about the lack of provisions in the AKP Biodiesel Supply Contract to address potential issues with the removal and restoration of property on which AKP’s facility will be located if it is unsuccessful. “If the Commission requires a decommissioning scenario, how would the utility address it?”
      The utilities replied, “If the Commission requires a decommissioning scenario, the Companies would discuss the issue with AKP. However, restoration of property issues are normally not addressed in fuel contracts. Further, HELCO believes that Commission approval of the AKP Biodiesel Supply Contract will send a signal to the agriculture industry that the transformation to energy crops is indeed a reality, which would be contrary to a decommissioning scenario.
      “In the case of AKP, it is also important that the AKP Biodiesel Supply Contract is not built only for HELCO, as that may create accounting consolidation issues. Accordingly, the
      AKP Biodiesel Supply Contract requires AKP to have multiple customers for its products, in addition to HELCO, and it is unknown at this time whether AKP will continue to operate its facility to supply other customers with its products after the termination or expiration of the AKP Biodiesel Supply Contract. As such, because AKP’s plans beyond the AKP Biodiesel Supply Contract are currently unknown, it is not practical to include contract provisions regarding the removal of plant and equipment.”
      Ka`u News Briefs will cover more responses in the coming days.
      Complete responses to all questions are online at puc.hawaii.gov. Docket number is 2012-0185.

Sen. Russell Ruderman
ISSUES BEFORE THE STATE LEGISLATURE will be discussed at a talk story session with Sen. Russell Ruderman at Pahala Plantation House tomorrow from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, call 974-4000, ext. 66890.

TONI PARRAS, COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER for Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, presents an overview of Hawai`i’s newest UNESCO World Heritage Site tomorrow at After Dark in the Park. The program, which covers the people, the partnerships and the promise for the monument, begins at 7 p.m.
 at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.

VOLCANO VARIETY SHOW takes place this Saturday at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at Volcano Art Center’s Ni`aulani Campus in Volcano Village. Acts include sketch, comedy, music and dance. Appropriate for all ages. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 children under 17. Call 967-8222.