• 26 Mar 2015 /  Education, letters

    Dearest Anyone Who Cares About The School Children Of Lower Puna:

    I noticed in the Hawaii Trib-Herald story this morning, the “schools”  that relocated children plan to keep their current arrangements for the rest of the school year.  Now, in addition to the little kids from Pahoa and Keonepoko being kept in little pods in Keaau, taking field trips to the bathroom, and hanging out with high schoolers for another 3 months, due to preemptive forced evacuation, some other information has been imparted which you should consider now rather that making everyone suffer through the end of the school year because you can.

    It was just  brought to my attention that since the mayor reinstated Section 8 housing in lower Puna, lots of folks have moved back, and their kids which should be going to Keonepoko have to go to Pahoa School, and now there are so many little kids in Pahoa School, the older elementary kids are now in classrooms on the high school side, not with their elementary school friends, and exposed to the problems inherent in our high schools.

    Why don’t you in charge just take a few days or over the weekend, and open up Keonepoko, and let the kids all go back where they belong???  Why do you make them, their parents and the teachers, stay unnecessarily???  The lava has not really been a threat for awhile now.  Could it because you spent way too much money in your panic, and now the kids and parents and teachers have to suffer until the DOE get’s off its okole and decides it is time?  If it is not this, than please clarify your reasons for keeping the children where they are for many more months, and please clarify it to the students, teachers, parents and caring community members in writing and in the newspaper, so everyone can know the real reason and try to come to grips with this new “dire emergency” method of dealing with Pele our government is testing out on us in lower Puna..

    With Love,

    Sara Steiner

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  • 25 Mar 2015 /  Lava Reports, news

    Hawaii Volcano Observatory has now downgraded the volcano alert level for Kilauea from “Warning” to “watc”h. The  flows near Pahoa are now considered “inactive,” though lava continues to erupt from four breakouts nearer to Pu’u O’o,

    “Because the immediate threat from the June 27th lava flow has been reduced, we are reducing the alert level,” read the observatory’s latest update. “Presently, the only active surface lava occurs in four separate breakouts from the main lava tube within three areas in the upper 6 km (4 mi) of the flow field below the Pu’u O’o vent. Lava from these breakouts is moving slowly atop earlier flows and along the margin of the June 27th and the Kahauale’a (2013-2014) flow fields. Based on the rate and trajectory of these active flows, we anticipate that it will be at least months before lava could reach to within 1 mile or 1 week of homes or infrastructure.” At that point, depending on which breakout becomes dominant and on the flows not shutting off entirely, then lava could again threaten either the Hawaiian Acres/Ainaloa area or Pahoa itself.

    Hawaii County Civil Defense said there was “little activity in the down slope areas. ” It said the current breakouts “extend from an area approximately 8 miles upslope of the stalled flow fronts to the summit area of Pu’u O’o.”

    The ultimate trajectory and path of the lava flow depends on how lava activity evolves in these areas.

    But there are important caveats: “At this time, reoccupation of the lava tube that fed lava flows toward the Pahoa Marketplace area is unlikely. Should this occur, however, delivery of lava farther downslope to the currently inactive extent of the June 27th lava flow field could happen more quickly, perhaps within weeks.”  The update also notes,  “This assessment is based on continued lava production at Pu’u O’o at current eruption rates and vent location. Should the eruption rate increase significantly or the locus of eruption shift to a new vent, the conditions of lava flow advance and associated threat could change quickly.”

  • 25 Mar 2015 /  Uncategorized

  • 24 Mar 2015 /  commentary, meeting notice, news

    If you care about your water – you may want to attend…..


    KONA: March 24 – West Hawaii Civic Center, Rm. next to the ‘rotunda’ 6:30pm

    HILO: March 30 – Aupuni Center – 101 Pauahi Street, Suite 1 6:30pm

    Additional information can be found at:


    via Janice Palma-Glennie

    The outcome of these meetings will affect everyone in Hawai`i.

    In Kona, there is huge future demand for water. Nothing in the existing Water Resources Protection Plan (WRPP) — the topic of the meetings — directly mentions or protects the ecological and cultural significance of our near shore natural and cultural resources.

    The WRPP is one part of the “Hawai`i Water Plan” that was established by the State Water Code. It was created as part of the code with the idea that careful planning would allow the Water Commission, as Trustees of the Public Trust in Water, to first ensure that water was protected, while allowing careful and proper development of water for economic use.

    This code/plan is supposed to be updated every five years. The last time the WRPP was updated was in 2008.

    The Water Resources Protection Plan (WRPP) is the keystone of the “Hawai`i Water Plan”. It is where the commission sets sustainable yields for groundwater; where it is supposed to establish policies for the protection of Public Trust uses of water, including leaving water in its natural state for recreational uses and the perpetuation of the Traditional and Customary Practices of Native Hawaiians. All the other parts of the plan are supposed to rely on the WRPP for guidance. These parts include the Agricultural Water Use and Development Plan (the plan for water needs for agriculture), the Water Quality Protection Plan (to protect water quality statewide), the State Water Projects Plan (providing water for state facilities like schools, airports, DHHL), and the all important County Water Use and Development Plans (where the Counties plan out how they will develop water for future growth while protecting public trust uses of water).

    If an important use of water is not listed and protected in the Water Resources Protection Plan, the other plans will not mention nor protect it.

    The Water Commission staff will be asking people to bring up their “one issue” that they are concerned about, and then break into small groups to discuss items. Based on the feedback from these meetings, they will be preparing a draft document. Now is a great time to speak up for our public trust interests in water.

    Potential talking points:

    Describe how you use or enjoy resources up and down the coast (e.g. coral reefs and fish that are adapted to fresh water flows, swimming / surfing in clean water, etc).
    Talk about your concern for the future of the resources and the community that depends on them.

    Mention that the calculation of sustainable yield has no scientific basis for determining how much and where water should continue to flow from mauka to makai.

    Tell them their plans need to have proactive tasks to implement: the days should be long gone when the Water Commission can just sit back, waiting for a complaint from the community or when a problem has reached a crisis point .

    Mahalo and hope to see you there,
    Janice Palma-Glennie

    Moku Loa Group -Sierra Club, Surfrider Foundation Big Island Hawai`i Chapter – Kona Kai Ea, Surfrider Hilo Chapter, Surfrider Foundation Hilo Chapter


  • 24 Mar 2015 /  BULLETINS, news

    Hawaii National Park, Hawai‘i – An Volcano House employee suffered burns to his upper arms after a kitchen fire at Volcano House in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park Tuesday morning.

    Park rangers, Hawaii County medics and firefighters responded to reports of the fire at around 10:30 a.m. The employee, Tony Pothul, was transported to Hilo Medical Center by ambulance, and later evacuated by air to O`ahu, where he was listed in stable condition.

    Both The Rim restaurant and Uncle George’s Lounge in Volcano House will be temporarily closed as National Park Service investigators determine the cause of the small blaze, according to Hawai‘i Volcanoes Lodge Company, LLC general manager David Macilwraith. The hotel management plans to reopen both restaurants Thursday. The Volcano House hotel remains open.


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    Aloha, everyone,
    In the last few weeks, I thought it became apparent to everyone that the Department of Land and Natural Resources is seriously underfunded given its mandate to protect our land, water, cultural and natural resources, and Hawaiian sites for our people and future generations.

    I guess I was wrong! The state House of Representatives recently passed its budget bill, HB 500 HD 1, and eliminated or reduced funding for several important DLNR programs described below. HB 500 HD 1 crossed over to the Senate, where it will be heard by Ways and Means any day now. We hope critical funding for DLNR programs will be replaced by the Senate or House and Senate negotiators in conference committee.

    We Need Your Kokua Now!

    1. Please call both your state representative and your state senator as soon as possible, say that you live in their district, and politely urge them to restore drastic cuts to the DLNR’s budget in budget bill HB 500 HD 1. If you would like to provide specific information, ask them to include the following:

    * $13m for the Natural Area Reserve Fund, $6.8m in the Legacy Land Fund, and $6.3m in the Forest Stewardship Fund (all of which are supported by conveyance tax revenues that are at historic highs because of the booming residential and commercial real estate markets (which put added pressure on natural resources like fresh water);

    * $6m in general funds for Hawai‘i Invasive Species Council programs;

    * $750,000 for wildlife and emergency response equipment for DLNR;

    * Funding for the Division of Conservation and Resourc Enforcement, (DOCARE), DLNR for community fisheries enforcement units on Kaua‘i, O‘ahu, Maui, and Hawai‘i

    * Funding for the Division of Aquatic Resources, DLNR, for the Humpback Whale Sanctuary State Co-Manager and for Community-based Subsistence Fisheries Area Planner and Marine Regulation and Policy Specialist to support community-based marine management like H?‘ena, P?p?kea, Mo‘omomi, Ka‘?p?lehu, etc.

    2. After you call your state representative and state senator, please email all representatives and senators at reps@capitol.hawaii.gov and sens@capitol.hawaii.gov and politely urge them to do the same as above.

    3. Share this Kokua Alert with others and ask them to contact their representatives and senators. Mahalo nui loa!

    FYI: Here is a summary of the drastic cuts to the DLNR’s budget in HB 500 HD 1:

    – Natural Area Reserve Fund – Governor’s FY16 request of $13m spending authority; House reduced to $0 (the FY15 spending authority for the NAR Fund had been $8m)

    – Legacy Land Conservation Fund – Governor’s FY16 request of $6.8m spending authority; House reduced to $0 (the FY15 spending authority had been $5.1m)

    – Forest Stewardship Fund – Governor’s FY16 request of $6.3m spending authority; House reduced to $5m (the same level as the FY15)

    – Hawai?i Invasive Species Council programs – Governor’s FY16 request of $4m general funds; House reduced to $0 (the FY15 Legislature provided $5.75m to HISC programs)

    – Native Resources & Fire Protection – Governor’s request for $750,000 in general funds for needed wildfire and emergency response equipment was denied by the House.

    – DOCARE – NO funding included in the House budget for:

    o Community Fisheries Enforcement Units on Kaua‘i, O‘ahu, Maui, and Hawai‘i

    o Makai Watch Coordinator

    – Division of Aquatic Resources – NO funding included in the House budget for:

    o Humpback Whale Sanctuary State Co-Manager

    o Community-based Subsistence Fisheries Area Planner and Marine Regulation and Policy Specialist to support community-based marine management like Haena, Pupukea, Mo`omomi, Ka‘upulehu, etc.

    Footnote: The NAR Fund and Forest Stewardship Fund use conveyance tax revenue to manage forest and watershed resources through the State Natural Area Reserves (mostly ceded land), Forest Reserves, Watershed Partnerships, Natural Area and Forest Stewardship partnerships with private landowners, and the Hawai‘i Youth Conservation Corps. The Legacy Land Fund provides State matching funds to purchase and protect cultural, natural, agricultural, historical, and recreational resource lands. The Hawai‘i Invasive Species Council provides funding for critical invasive species prevention, eradication, control, research, and education programs.

    House of Representatives Contact Information (To find your state representative, go to http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/findleg.aspx?street=Enter%20Street%20Name)

    –Marjorie Ziegler,
    Kaneohe, O`ahu
    Editor’s Note: Marjorie Ziegler is the executive director of the Conservation Council of Hawaii

  • 23 Mar 2015 /  Island Events, meeting notice, news

    Puna Geothermal Venture will hold a  community meeting on Tuesday March 24 at  6:30 pm  to 8:00 p.m. at the Pahoa Community Center in order to provide an update of drilling activities and an updated schedule.

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  • 23 Mar 2015 /  Public Service Announcement

    Hilo, Hawai‘i – March 23, 2015 – This April, May, and June, the general public can support the non-profit Ku‘ikahi Mediation Center by purchasing gasoline at any Ohana Fuels (Minit Stop) in East Hawai‘i.

    The participating Minit Stop stations include two in Hilo at the corners of Highway 11 and Puainako Street and Highway 11 and Leilani Street.  The third is located in Laupahoehoe on Highway 19, the fourth in Kea‘au on Orchidland Drive (off Highway 130).

     According to Ku‘ikahi Mediation Center’s press release, the center “empowers people to come together–to talk and to listen, to explore options, and to find their own best solutions.  To achieve this mission, Ku’ikahi offers mediation, facilitation, and training to strengthen the ability of diverse individuals and groups to resolve interpersonal conflicts and community issues. 

     For more information, visit www.hawaiimediation.org or www.ohanafuels.com.

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  • 23 Mar 2015 /  Energy, environment, meeting notice, news

    Those wishing to participate via free teleconference phone at the Army/Nuclear Regulatory Commission meeting about depleted uranium at Pohakuloa and Schofield Barracks should call 888-957-9862 and give the following password:  4982130.  The call is toll free.

    Senior Project Manager Amy Snyder of the NRC has provided the following additional information about documents that the Army has provided the NRC and where to find them online:

    “Documents that will be discussed can be reviewed at the links below beginning Friday, March 20:

    View ADAMS P8 Properties ML15078A094

    Open ADAMS P8 Package (Draft Documents from Army Regarding March 24, 2015 Meeting on Depleted Uranium from the Davy Crockett Weapon System)

    “Draft Documents from Army Regarding March 24, 2015 Meeting on Depleted Uranium from the Davy Crockett Weapon System:
    ML15078A092 DRAFT National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) document
    ML15078A099 DRAFT Decommissioning Funding Plan
    ML15078A114 DRAFT Programmatic Approach for Preparation of Site-Specific Environmental Radiation Monitoring Plans
    ML15078A115 DRAFT Proposed Amendments to Conditions of NRC SML # SUC-1593
    ML15078A118 DRAFT “Radiation Safety Plan for IMCOM Ranges Affected by M101 Davy Crockett Spotting Round Depleted Uranium.”

    “These documents are located in package No. ML15078A094…. The package No. is not declared- so please use the individual ML numbers provided above. They are now publicly available. The Army said that they will have one more draft document by Monday, March 23. The NRC staff may not have enough time to review this draft so the NRC staff may not be able to have a detailed discussion on documents received late- in which case we may be in the listening mode.”

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  • 23 Mar 2015 /  Uncategorized
    Dearest Mayor Kenoi,

    Sorry about another letter so soon, but I am hearing a lot of frustration from folks who have kids that are supposed to be going to school at Keonepoko or Pahoa.  As the man in charge of all things related to Act 111, you have got to know by know that our little kids are still crammed into some little pods in the parking lot at Keaau High School and other schools since being evacuated last year .  Did you know they make them line up and go to the bathroom all at one time?  How can that be conducive to learning?  Do you know where all the precious little kids get to eat lunch and try to play recess?  They share the same space as the high-schoolers do.  I’ve heard that armed police hang out there to keep the peace since teen rivals now attend same school.  Would you let your young impressionable kids be treated like this?  Even your older children?  Could you please use your supreme powers invested by Act 111 to insist the Department Of Education to do a bit better job, like let them go back to their own schools since the lava is pau for now, the lava drill is over.   I can guarantee it wouldn’t be done this way in Hilo or Kona.  Our lower Puna children deserve better.

    Very sincerely,

    Sara Steiner
    P.O. Box 2011
    Pahoa, Hawaii 96778

  •   The state legislature’s proposed annual budget is out, with its annual gift to the construction industry: the Capital Improvement Projects  (CIP) funding.  The biggest CIP allocations on this island are a $61 airport firefighters’ training facility at Kona Airport, $55 million in continued funding for the Judiciary Complex in Kona, and $8.5 million for a “multi-purpose workforce development processing facility.” Other big island projects include: 

    ·         $1.2 million for the plans and design of a new hospital in Kona

    ·         $2.35 million for the design and construction of a Kamuela post-harvest facility and vacuum cooling plant

    ·         $330,000 for improvements to the research campus in the Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology Park

    ·         $30.212 for the construction of a new combined support maintenance shop complex for Hawaii Army National Guard at the Keaukaha military reservation

    ·         $1.675 million for Youth Challenge Academy renovations and improvements at Keaukaha military reservation

    ·         $2 million for the design of Building A phase 1 renovations at Hilo Intermediate School

    ·         $1 million for the construction of bleachers at Honokaa High School

    ·         $230,000 for the construction of drainage improvements and a raised covered walkway at Mountain View Elementary School

    ·         $450,000 for a new baseball batting cage at Waiakea High School

    ·         $1.58 million for the design of a new classroom building at Waikoloa Elementary and Middle School

    ·         $300,000 for parking improvements at Kealakehe Elementary School

    ·         $1 million for the design and construction for Pu’u Wa’awa’a structure improvements and dam compliance

    ·         $400,000 for the plans and design for improvements at the North Kawaihae small boat harbor

    ·         $600,000 for the land acquisition and design for a community center in Waiakea Uka

    ·         $200,000 for building renovations and improvements at the Paauilo slaughterhouse plant

    ·         $3.5 million for airfield improvements at Hilo International Airport

    ·         $1.425 million for physical modifications to improve navigational safety and operational efficiencies at Hilo Harbor

    ·         $3.6 million for Kohala Mountain Road drainage improvements by mile post 10.60

    ·         $8 million for the rehabilitation of Ninole Bridge along Mamalahoa Highway (route 11)

    ·         $15 million for repair and maintenance of feeder roads and alternate routes for Highway 130

    ·         $660,000 for land acquisition to extend the Daniel K. Inouye Highway from the Hilo terminus to the Queen Kaahumanu Highway

    ·         $1.5 million for the construction of portable trailers at Hawaii Community College

    ·         $350,000 to renovate the tennis court at Honokaa High and Intermediate School

    ·         $2.46 million lump sum for renovations at Hilo High School

    ·         $1.23 million lump sum for renovations at Konawaena Middle School

    ·         $780,000 lump sum for renovations at Kohala High

    ·         $4.99 million for photovoltaic projects for East Hawaii HHSC region

    ·         $3.492 million total for renovations at Kona Community Hospital

    ·         $750,000 for an 80 bed intake unit at Hawaii Community Correctional Center to address overcrowding

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  • Aloha Tiffany!

    The Lions of East Hawaii need your help!  We have received Federal approval for the Big Island Lions Foundation as a 501(c)(3) public charty and we are holding our first fund raiser on March 26 at the Palace. 

    It promises to be a fantastic night with generous performances given to this event by some of East Hawaii’s great performance artists. 

    ·         Kawaimaluhia and Nani Naope & Friends

    ·         The Masoe Family

    ·         Merahi, the award winning Tahitian dancers

    ·         Ke Ola Makanio Mauna Loa Halau

    ·         Ben Kaili & Friends

    ·         Special Guest Diane Aki

     The Kamehameha Chorus will perform in the lobby before the show!

     Please help spread the word!  If you would like tickets to sell, I am glad to be able to help you.  Tickets are $20, available at my office or at the box office the night of the show.

     This year, the East Hawaii Lions introduced cameras to our vision screening for school children.  The cameras make the process faster and more accurate, allowing us to work with more children.  The best feature is that we can now do younger preschool children because the cameras do not require the children to have developed speech and social skills.  It relies on the reflection of light from the inner eye.  The vendor has allowed us to work with a demonstrator but now we need to purchase at least two cameras for our work.  Each camera costs $5,800.

      Come out to enjoy the fun and do something special for our keiki!

    Nancy Jean Kramer


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  • 20 Mar 2015 /  Big Island Press Club, news

    Tired of being misinformed, and want to do something about it? The Big Island Press Club (BIPC) is offering five scholarships for eligible students pursuing higher education in journalism or a related field: the $1,500 Robert C. Miller Memorial Scholarship, $1,000 Bill Arballo Scholarship, $1,000 Marcia Reynolds Scholarship, $600 Yukino Fukubori Memorial Scholarship and the $500 Jack Markey Memorial Scholarship. Last year, BIPC divided $4,600 among five Hawaii Island students.

    The BIPC Scholarship Committee determines who gets the money, based on the following criteria: applicant must

    • Have residential ties to the Big Island;
    • Express a clear interest in and aptitude for a career in journalism or a related field;
    • Be pursuing a degree in journalism or a related field and enrolled full time at an accredited college or university;
    • Maintain a strong record of academic achievement.

    Go to  www.BigIslandPressClub.org or to your high school counselor for application forms and instructions. Applications for the 2015 scholarships must be postmarked by April 18.

    For more information, email scholarships@bigislandpressclub.org or phone
    Phone: (747) 444-BIPC

  • Big Island Chronicle has received a note from Amy Snyder at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, saying that the time for the meeting with the Army on depleted uranium at Pohakuloa  has been changed from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST (3 a.m.-10 a.m. HST) to 11:00 a.m. -5:15 p.m. EST (5 a.m.–11:15  a.m. HST).  She noted that other topics besides the Hawaiian DU were on the agenda, and that discussion of the Hawaiian sites would “begin at 1:30 p.m.  eastern time” (That’s 7:30 Hawaiian time).

    She said that the discussion would specifically address the Army’s proposal to add additional DU contamination sites to those already listed, and noted that “currently there is no licensing review or licensing action.  This meeting is a pre-application submission meeting.”  Since the meeting time had changed, she said, she was in the process of obtaining a new toll-free phone number for teleconferencing.  As soon as that number is sent to us, we will print it on this site.

    Documents that will be discussed can be reviewed at the links below beginning Friday, March 20:

    View ADAMS P8 Properties ML15078A094

    Open ADAMS P8 Package (Draft Documents from Army Regarding March 24, 2015 Meeting on Depleted Uranium from the Davy Crockett Weapon System)

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  • 19 Mar 2015 /  Energy, letters

    Dear Governor Ige:

    The Case For (Non-Profit) Municipal Power (MP) In Hawai’i. The impending sale of Hawaiian Electric (HE) to NextEra Energy must not be allowed. The time has come for a different energy model in Hawai’i. Corporate HE (not individual workers) is unresponsive, or at best sluggish, to the economic and environmental needs of the people of Hawai’i, and for good reason, HE is not egalitarian, it’s a privately owned power monopoly motivated by profit. HE charges the highest electric rates in the United States. These high rates, the steady drop in renewable energy costs, and the effects of carbon fuel pollution on the planet, have permanently altered the energy landscape, and have made energy sources like roof-top solar a great economic and ethical choice for residential energy consumers. Unfortunately, HE discourages roof-top solar because it’s not profitable for them . Allowing the change of ownership, of a for-profit power monopoly, from HE to out-of-state NextEra, delivers the company to individuals having no endemic connection to Hawai’i. It allows NextEra to control the energy fates of all Hawaiians, the sun, wind, tides, and Pele herself, all for the profit of NextEra. These energy resources are a public trust, belonging to the current and future generations of Hawai’i, not to any private entity. Your obligation as Governor is to uphold this public trust, and I therefore petition you to municipalize HE instead of allowing its sale to NextEra Energy.

    Some people will be shocked by the proposition of MP, claiming it’s unworkable or untried. Others will call it Socialism, wagging their tongues about the free market, the word Capitalism spilling reverently from their lips, and they will tell you that competition is the best solution. And some will caution that MP is just “big government” intruding into our lives. Well… to those who are shocked, or wagging, or afraid of government, the truth is simply eye-opening. MP is an old idea, beginning in America as early as 1917, and widely accepted all across this country. MP got its start because, “Many [Americans in the early 1900’s] believed privately owned power companies were charging too much for power, did not employ fair operating practices, and were subject to abuse by their owners (utility holding companies), at the expense of consumers.” Indeed, Americas exploitation of power resources is an older story than MP. A recent example of this exploitation happened in 2000, in the Southern California energy market, which was manipulated by energy traders, who under the guise of the “free market” caused an 800% jump in energy costs, all the while promising that competition would bring the price down. The only SoCal energy provider that did not raise its rates was the LA Municipal Power Authority. The truth is, in the United States, MP is a well tested and continuing success, with “251 publicly owned electric & gas utilities,” and “44 State and Federal” utilities . The entire RED state of Nebraska is a municipal power State . And to erase any doubt, in the State of Hawaii, the “Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC)” has the following information on their web site :

    “(KIUC) is a not-for-profit generation, transmission and distribution cooperative owned and controlled by the members it serves. Headquartered in Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii, the cooperative currently serves more than 32,000 electric accounts throughout Kauai. Committed to reinventing how Kauai is powered, KIUC is
    aggressively pursuing diversification of its energy portfolio to include a growing percentage of hydropower, photovoltaic, bio-fuel, and biomass.”

    “Goals in the plan include:

    • Reducing the average residential energy bill by at least 10 percent over the next 10 years even as petroleum fuel prices are forecast to rise 35 percent. The amount of the reduction could be greater or less depending on the actual price of oil and assumes that KIUC completes its switch to at least 50 percent renewable power generation.
    • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from KIUC operations to 1990 levels by 2023. That would eliminate about 52,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
    • Holding operations budgets at or below the inflation rate, something KIUC has done since 2010, while maintaining system reliability.”

    Municipalization is the legal process whereby the State, County, or City forms its own non-profit utility company. In Hawai’i, this could be done Island by Island, County by County, or State wide. Municipal conversions have been successfully accomplished all around the country, and are the less expensive alternative to for-profit monopoly power. Recently, the City of Boulder Colorado took its for-profit power company municipal, a movement that started with people who wanted to make a positive change in Boulder.

    There is a long list of good reasons to implement Municipal Power in Hawai’i:

    1. Moral Obligation – Renewable energy resources (solar, wind, tidal, geothermal) are a public trust, belonging to the current and future generations of Hawai’i and not to any private entity. The sun, wind, tides, and geothermal energy are everyones. To be a free people, we must collectively own these resources.
    2. Lower Electric Rates – Based upon the existing examples of MP Cities and States, rates will decrease and service will increase. This will especially help Hawai’i Island where rates are $0.45/KWhr, the most expensive in the nation by 3 to 5 times.
    3. No Longer Under The Thumb Of A For-Profit Monopoly – NextEra Energy is an out-of-state for-profit company that will hold a monopoly on electric power in most of Hawai’i. They will determine the fate of renewable energy in Hawai’i for the foreseeable future. Promises of lower rates, and a move toward solar, which NextEra has tended to develop in large industrial farms (more profitable for them) rather than roof-top installations, are hollow promises that disappear the minute oil prices increase or their profits are in jeopardy.
    4. Accountability & Transparency – A for profit company has no obligation or accountability to the State, or the people of the State, and is not transparent in its spending practice or resource allocation. When creating the MP authority the State can mandate “sunshine” laws.
    5. Potential Of Renewable Power In Hawai’i – Of all the US States, the Hawaiian Islands and particularly Hawai’i County have the most potential for renewables. Hawai’i State has limitless quantities of sun, wind, tidal, and on Hawai’i Island, geothermal.
    6. The Climate Perspective – To moderate the effects of global warming, renewables are the answer. In a warming world the continued reliance on extractive carbon based energy, or even biofuels is foolish.
    7. Future Energy Costs – Oil and natural gas costs only promise to increase. Renewable energy is free. After the initial investment in panels, inverters, windmills, turbines, and geothermal wells, the cost is only in maintenance (which has identical cost counterparts in traditional power plants), but the energy s free. I repeat, no fuel cost, free!
    8. Fuel Transportation Costs – There are no transportation costs for renewable energy. Oil and gas have to be brought to Hawai’i, and as the transportation cost of fuel increases so will the cost of the fuel, and so will the cost of electricity.
    9. Sustainability and Continuity of the Energy Supply – If there’s catastrophe, a natural disaster, a war, a fuel oil fire, a long freight strike, if power plants are bombed or exploded by terrorists, this will disrupt the carbon energy “pipeline” into Hawai’i. Solar, wind, tidal, and geothermal power are endemic to Hawai’i.
    10. Distributed Power Is More Reliable – Especially in the case of roof-top solar, the energy source is distributed, not a point source like a power plant. Distributed sources tend to be more robust than point sources because it’s impossible for any disaster to shut down all roof-top solar panels.
    11. Save Existing Electric Utility Jobs.
    12. Create New Jobs – From new services that a MP utility can provide.
    13. Use Low Cost Green Energy to Attract Industry to Hawai’i – Following the model of Iceland (a country that generates 100% of its energy from green sources (geothermal and hydroelectric), energy intensive clean industries could be attracted to Hawai’i by our low cost green energy. This will generate long term, sustainable, higher paying jobs, and end Hawaii’s dependence on boom or bust low paying tourism sector jobs, the military, and real-estate and building trade jobs, which are dependent on the economy, states of war, and the development of the precious little land that is Hawai’i.
    14. Energy Efficiency – Use the MP authority to advertise energy efficiency, and establish a grant program for home owners to receive money to insulate their homes (lower AC cost), convert to solar hot water, electric cars, etc. The Counties could use grant money to purchase LED street lamps, or convert to electric powered or solar fueled (hydrogen) vehicles (which will again lower our dependence on imported oil).
    15. Power the HART Train System – Instead of building another oil fired power plant to supply power to the new train system, use the MP authority to encourage roof-top solar to such a degree that one of the existing oil fired power plants is freed-up to supply power to HART. By utilizing rooftop solar, the foot print of the new power plant will be ZERO, no land, no ugly plant, no noise, no fuel delivery system, no atmospheric or oil spill pollution.
    16. Include the Geothermal Plant on Big Island in the MP Authority – MP on the Big Island can be used to stop the excesses of Puna Geothermal (PG), which continually vents H2S from its well heads, doesn’t effectively monitor the H2S releases, and blights the land where it sets up or abandons wells. A fund could be set up in the MP system to reclaim the blighted lands, monitor the H2S, end noisy night-time well drilling, and buy out property owners that are too close to wells, giving these land owners the opportunity to move to a home farther from the geothermal wells. Geothermal is a vast resource that should belong to the Hawaiian people and not Ormat.
    17. Create Municipal Broadband – By using the power poles to run fiber optic cable, or using the power wires for broadband-over-power-lines, bring high speed Internet to Hawai’i, at speeds comparable to the rest of the developed world but rarely found in the USA. This would encourage information technology (IT) companies to move to Hawai’i (as it has in Chattanooga, TN, and Santa Monica, CA), and change Hawai’i from an IT back-water into the high tech hub of the Pacific. Current average Internet speeds in the USA are 10 Mb/S, at costs from $19.00 to $40.00 per month. The Internet of much of the rest of the developed world runs at speeds of 0.5 Gb/s, at costs of $5.00 per month, with faster speeds up to 1 Gb/S for $35.00 or less per month (depending upon the country).

    Renewables are the energy of today, not the energy of the future, because without green energy humanity may not have a future. The United States lags behind the rest of the developed world in implementing renewable (non-carbon, non-nuclear) energy. As Americans struggle to change energy sources, we face propaganda from the extractive carbon energy companies, who promise energy independence, who say there is no climate change due to carbon dioxide, who not admitting carbon is an environmental problem promise “clean carbon technologies,” who have historically blighted the land, polluted the air, rivers, lakes and oceans, and who understandably want to profit from every single drop of oil. We also have to face our own familiarity and acustomness to the carbon economy, and have to confront the problem humanity has with making large long-sighted systemic changes. Quoting Tyson Slokum , “We can do a lot more for cheaper if we focus on how to get off of oil and become more energy efficient. And what we need to be doing is looking at ways to more easily and affordably get alternative[s] like electric vehicles into the market, to invest in ways to make our buildings more energy efficient, [and] to focus on getting 20 million roof top solar panels installed in the next couple of years. These are all the kinds of initiatives that are actually going to lead to affordable energy and energy independence. But of course, the big money in terms of electoral politics is not in roof-top solar, it’s in maintaining the monopoly status of oil industries control over our economy”

    In the world outside the United States there are many countries who are successfully moving off carbon and nuclear energy. The country Denmark just announced its pledged to be a totally renewable society by 2050. Germany, the most successful economy in the world, is already 25% renewable energy. Iceland is a totally renewable energy country, deriving power from approximately 80% geothermal, and 20% hydroelectric power from glacier melt.

    None of what I’ve proposed is new. Every idea has been gleaned from successes in the USA and the world. As a new governor, not elected by a majority of the electorate, at a time when the population does not trust and is disconnected from government, a government that most assiduously serves the rich and exiguously serves the poor, you need a people’s issue. If you said to your fellow Hawaiians, we have tried a for-profit power monopoly and it did not work, so now we are creating a non-profit Municipal Power Authority to substantially lower your energy bills and enrich the State, well… that’s big Aloha. To do this you must eliminate the profiteers, uphold the “public trust,” and for the “collective good,” return the sun, wind, tides, and Pele herself to the people of Hawai’i.

    I look forward to your response, and your action on Municipal Power.

    Best Regards,
    Larry Pollack
    Hilo, Hawai’i

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  • 19 Mar 2015 /  feature, news, politics

    Jody Leong

    While the brouhaha over Governor David Ige’s failed appointment of Carlton Ching to head the Department of Land and Natural Resources played itself out, Ige has continued to fill out his administration with other, less controversial appointments. In the process, he’s narrowed the gender gap in his administration–though he still has some distance to go.  The eleven appointments and nominations he’s announced on his Web site since the beginning of this month included seven women and four men.  Since assuming  office, his official Web site has  announced the appointments of a 34 men and 24 women.

    Among his recent appointments are  two former former anchorwomen who will be joining his communications team.  Jody Leong, the Director of Communications for the University of  Hawaii and a former KITV and KHNL weekend news anchor, will become Ige’s Deputy Director of Communications and Press Secretary.  Yasmin Dar, who left a job at KITV as a traffic and social media reporter to become an evening news anchor in Eugene, Oregon, is returning  to Hawaii to serve as Ige’s Digital Media Director.

    Lynn Fallin

    Ige has also appointed three women to senior posts in the Department of Health  this month.  Veteran government bureaucrat Lynn Fallin, whose 25 -year career has included cabinet posts in Oregon and Hawaii,  has been appointed Director of Behavior Health.  Terry Byers has been appointed Director of Executive Office on Aging. Danette Wong Tomiyasu has will become Deputy Director for Health Resources, and Helena Manzano has been tapped as Executive Director of the Office of Language Access.

    Cathy Ross, a 14-year public service veteran,  has been named  Deputy Director for Administration at the Department of Public Safety.

    Audrey Hidano

    Most of these women come with ample credentials and a minimum of controversy; in general, aside from the newswomen, they’ve earned their chops within the departments they’ll be leading.  But Audrey Hidano, named to serve as Deputy Director of the Department of Accounting and General Services, could be an exemplification of the notorious “revolving door” between the public and private sectors: she’s served in high state posts with departments involved in contracting and construction and is co-owner of a contracting firm and a construction firm.  Ige’s press release spins Hidano’s career as “a wealth of experience in government leadership positions and in the private sector. She has twice served as Deputy Director of the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, and most recently she was the Deputy Director at the Department of Transportation. Hidano also co-founded Hidano Construction, Inc., a general contracting company that specializes in residential and light commercial construction, and is the co-owner of Rim-Pac, Inc. a construction company that specializes in solid surface work….”

    Ulalia Woodside

    Ige named Ulalia Woodside to the Board of Land and Natural Resources, where she’s already serving as an interim member. Woodside has also worked both sides of the governmental/corporate divide, though she’s served in conservation/management roles on both sides.   Shes’s currently  currently the regional asset manager for natural and cultural resources at Kamehameha Schools’ Land Assets Division. Prior to that,  she worked for  Wilson Okamoto Corporation, The Hallstrom Group and the DLNR.

    Darrell T. Young

    Ige also appointed two men to the BLNR: surfer Keone Downing  and former Hawaii County Planning Director Chris Yuen, who had been the Big Island’s representative on the board in the  1990s. Ige named veteran sheriff Shawn as Deputy Director for Law Enforcement at the Department of Public Safety, and veteran political bureaucrat Darrell T. Young from his post as Deputy to the Chair at the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands to become Deputy of the Department of Transportation’s Harbors Division.  Before his DHHL post, Young served as chief of staff to Honolulu Councilman Nestor Garcia.

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