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.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Ka`u News Briefs March 29, 2013

Ka`u farmers and ranchers setting up at the state Capitol for yesterday's Ag Awareness Day.
KA`U FARMERS, RANCHERS, land managers, coffee brokers and retailers met members of the state Legislature and the public yesterday with booths at the annual Agricultural Awareness Day at the state Capitol in Honolulu, sponsored by Hawai`i Farm Bureau Federation. Phil Becker of Aikane Plantation Coffee, Lani and Bill Petrie of Kapapala Ranch and Chris Manfredi of Ka`u Farm Bureau joined in. Becker, who also represented the state Seal of Quality, said the presentation was very successful for Ka`u.

GMO LABELING PROPONENTS wound up in a scuffle after statewide Hawai`i Farm Bureau president Dean Okimoto covered their video camera with his hand while several Ka`u ranchers and farmers looked on. The encounter was shown on statewide television and posted on the Honolulu Star-Advertiser newspaper’s website. GMO labeling proponents said they visited legislators’ offices yesterday. Both Ka`u senators, Josh Green and Russell Ruderman, support GMO labeling, as does Rep. Denny Coffman.
      The labeling proponents were walking through the ag day display area at the state Capitol with a sign saying, “If we keep buying, they’ll keep selling,” when Okimoto told them, “We don’t appreciate being filmed.” and put his hand over the camera lens.
GMO labeling supporters' camera covered by Hawai`i Farm
Bureau president at yesterday's ag day.
      The Hawai`i Farm Bureau Federation and Hawai`i Crop Improvement Association have withheld support for GMO labeling and recently held an essay contest called “Views from the Farm” to drum up support for Genetically Modified Organisms. The winning essays came from Illinois, Oregon, North Dakota and Washington State and are posted on Hawai`i Crop Improvement Association’s website at www.hciaonline.com. Hawai`i Crop Improvement Association also posts breaking news with such headlines as GMO Protestors Would Accomplish More by Talking to the Companies, Genetic Engineering ‘Monster’ Exists only in Our Minds, and The Effects of Persecuting Biotechnology.
      In February, the state House Committee on Agriculture unanimously adopted HB174 to require all GMO produce imported into the state to be labeled. The locally grown Rainbow payaya would have been exempt, although these papayas are required by the Japan government to be labeled GMO when they are shipped there. The labeling bill for Hawai`i passed the House and moved to the Senate.
      However, last week, three Senate committees heard the bill and tabled it for further study.
      Ruderman said that this was the farthest any GMO labeling bill has gone in the state Legislature and gave Sen. Josh Green credit for making sure the bill went to a public hearing in the Senate. Regarding a proposed resolution to study GMO labeling, he said, “It is better than nothing, but not much.” Ruderman predicted that GMO labeling would become an important issue in the 2014 Hawai`i Legislature.

A RESOLUTION TO STUDY GMO LABELING passed the state Senate Committee on Agriculture and the Senate Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection yesterday. It asks the University of Hawai`i Economic Research Organization to establish an economic model, conduct an economic impact study and submit a report on the economic impact of implementing a GMO labeling or GMO registration requirement on consumers, the local agricultural industry, and the state’s 2050 sustainability goals.
      The resolution also asks the state Department of Agriculture, in collaboration with the Departments of Health and Business, Economic Development & Tourism, to research and submit a report “examining whether implementing a GMO labeling or GMO registration regimen is practicable, including issues relating to ease of enforcement and administration of a labeling or registration requirement, and whether such a program would adversely affect the Hawai`i 2050 sustainability goals and determining how the preferred program, if any, should be implemented.”

IN TESTIMONY OPPOSING THE PROPOSAL for `Aina Koa Pono to sell biofuel that would be manufactured at a refinery off Wood Valley Road from crops grown between Pahala and Na`alehu to Hawai`i Electric Light Co., Life of the Land gave answers to questions about pricing posed by the state Public Utilities Commission. 
      To the question of whether the commission should approve the contract as reasonable and consistent with the public interest and the related contract costs, including the biodiesel, transportation, and storage costs, and related taxes, Life of the Land replied: “The price is not reasonable compared with other Hawai`i biofuel supply contracts.
      “The price is not reasonable compared with other baseload renewable energy options for the Island of Hawai`i. As the commencement date envisioned in this contract and in the current geothermal Request for Proposals are far off in the future, it is not unreasonable to require that if both are acceptable, they have to offer solutions in the same general price ballpark, which they do not.
      “But there is another and more troubling problem. In most biofuel proposals submitted to the Commission, the proposers have extensive biofuel and/or utility experience. The known AKP principals lack this knowledge base. Specific details in the submittals are redacted.”
      “Furthermore, the fact that the difference between AKP-1 and AKP-2 is the $100 million price tag that was to be saddled on the backs of O`ahu ratepayers, combined with the facts that HECO has not seen AKP’s books, and AKP will make multiple products which can be cross-subsidized, means that O`ahu ratepayers may still be overpaying for something that might or might not promote sustainable bio production operations.”
      To questions of whether the commission should approve as just and reasonable the inclusion of the cost differential between the biodiesel under the Biodiesel Supply Contract and the cost of the petroleum diesel that the biodiesel is replacing, Life of the Land replied:
      “There are two separate issues here. First, the cost differential is unreasonable since the contract itself is overpriced and thus unreasonable. Second, allowing multiple cost differentials for multiple biofuel supply contracts contradicts the spirit of competitive bidding. If the Commission does want to offer a cost differential, it should make it a uniform percentage available to all biofuel suppliers.
      “If biofuels are the most cost-effective baseload renewable energy resource, then there should be a generic surcharge, modified by specific cost analysis conducted in the individual biofuel contracts. However, in the absence of any analysis on whether biofuels are the most cost-effective way of increasing renewable energy baseload, a surcharge is not the way to proceed.
      Life of the Land says “this is especially relevant in the current doctrine” which it explains as “‘O`ahu has sun, wind, waves and a deep cold ocean for tourists, but lacks the same resources for generating renewable energy).’ This doctrine supports an entrenched political decision that one particular future scenario should be pre-selected as the winner.”
      This and other testimony, both pro and con, is available at puc.hawaii.gov. Docket number is 2012-0185.

Milton Pavao
MILTON PAVAO, RETIRED MANAGER and chief engineer for Hawai`i County Department of Water Supply, has been chosen by Gov. Neil Abercrombie to serve on the state Commission of Water Resource Management. The licensed professional engineer and earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from University of Hawai`i.
      The commission consists of seven members, with five members appointed by the governor. Appointments are subject to Senate confirmation. Pavao’s four-year term would begin July 1.

THE KAHUKU UNIT of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park hosts Lunch with a Ranger tomorrow. Participants bring a bag lunch and join rangers for an open discussion on topics ranging from land management and conservation issues to environmental and cultural history. 
      Drive through the Kahuku gate located on the mauka side of Hwy 11 near mile marker 70.5. Park and meet at the visitor contact tent near the ranch buildings. Check the activities board for the location and topic of the day.
      No advance reservation is required.

KILAUEA MILITARY CAMP in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park celebrates Easter with an Easter Egg Hunt and brunch on Sunday. The egg hunt at 9 a.m. is for children 10 years old and under. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m., and participants should bring their own Easter baskets.
      Brunch takes place from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Crater Rim Café. Menu includes honey-glazed ham, beef pot roast, stuffed French toast with mango cream cheese filling, omelet station, breakfast meats, fresh fruit, ice cream bar and a beverage. $17.50 adults; $8.50 children 6 to 11. KMC is open to authorized patrons and sponsored guests, and park entrance fees apply. Call 967-8356 for more.