Aloha Mayor Kenoi:
We ask you to support requiring Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) to comply with
County law. In 2012 the County Council passed and you signed Bill 202 that became Ordinance
12-151, effective December 5, 2012, subsequently codified as Hawai`i County Code § 14-113.
The law prohibits geothermal well drilling at night within a mile of a residence. PGV has
announced it will begin drilling a new well, identified as KS-16, and further says that it will
disregard the requirements of Hawai`i County Code § 14-113.
When PGV drilled well KS-15 in 2012, the drilling work caused continual disturbances
of nearby residents and complaints about noise, light, dust, fear of toxic exposure, etc. As a
result of community concerns, the County Council passed the ordinance that resulted in the law
providing “Geothermal resources exploration drilling and geothermal production drilling
operations being conducted one mile or less from a residence, shall be restricted to the operating
hours of 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.”
Although PGV has said the drilling of KS-16 is not affected by the night drilling ban,
nothing in the law supports such an opinion – Code § 14-114 is a simple and unambiguous
prohibition with no exceptions.
Hawai`i Administrative Rules (HAR) Chapter 13-183, entitled Rules on Leasing and
Drilling of Geothermal Resources, regulates geothermal activity in Hawai`i, such as well
drilling, for purposes that include “[m]inimizing or preventing degradation of the environment”
and “[p]reventing injury to life and property.” HAR § 13-183-1(c)(3) and (4).
PGV operates its facility in Pohoiki pursuant to Geothermal Resources Mining Lease No.
R-2 dated February 20, 1981. Paragraph 11 of the Lease requires that PGV obey local “laws
and regulations pertaining to the leased lands and Lessee’s operations hereunder, now in force or
which may hereafter be in force ….” (Emphasis supplied.) HAR § 13-183-26 provides that a
mining lease may be revoked if a lessee fails to comply with any terms of the lease, law, or rules.
HAR §13-183-65 requires PGV to obtain a DLNR permit prior to drilling any well. PGV
obtained a DLNR drilling permit, issued on December 16, 2014, for well KS-16 that includes, in
paragraph 3, a requirement that PGV must comply with County law.
We have requested that the Board of Land and Natural Resources require PGV to show
cause why its drilling permit should not be revoked. HAR § 13-183-65(d) provides that after
notifying PGV to appear to show cause why the permit should not be suspended or revoked, the
Board may order revocation or suspension of the KS-16 drilling permit if drilling “is not being
done in accordance with conditions of the permit or these rules….” (See attached letter.)
PGV’s drilling at night in violation of Code § 14-114 accords with neither the permit
requirement that PGV must comply with County law nor the HAR § 13-183-54(b) requirement
that PGV must comply with all county “requirements, laws, rules and regulations … pertaining to
the use of the premises or the conduct of the operation.”
Because PGV has announced its intent to violate the drilling permit and applicable rules,
we ask that you please endorse our request pursuant to § 13-183-65(d) that BLNR order PGV to
show cause why the permit should not be revoked for that reason. Because our membership
includes community residents that would be affected by PGV’s violation of the law, we will
continue to pursue an appropriate resolution of PGV’s disregard of County law.
We will be happy to provide any further information you may wish and would appreciate
an opportunity at your first convenience to meet with you in person about these matters.
Copy: Chair Carty Chang
27 Jan 2015 / letters
Aloha Mayor Kenoi:
From Jason Armstrong at Hawaii County Parks and Recreation:
The County of Hawai‘i Department of Parks and Recreation will stop operating the P?hoa Lava Viewing Area at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 31.
Located at the P?hoa Transfer Station, the free viewing area is being shut down so the facility can be converted back to its original use as a public trash-collection site.
It also is closed today, January 27, and will be closed again on Thursday, January 29, so schoolchildren displaced by recent lava activity may take field trips to the viewing area and see the stalled front.
27 Jan 2015 / Uncategorized
After offering evening swimming hours at the Pahoa Pool for a few days, County Parks and Recreation has abruptly shut down the program for now.
“Until further notice, Monday, January 26 will mark the last of the nighttime open-swim sessions offered at the P?hoa Community Aquatic Center. Lighting and other safety enhancements are needed before the pilot program will be reinstated,” read a Parks and Rec press release, in part.
Earlier this month, the County had instituted evening hours, keeping the pool open until 8 p.m. three nights a week. Starting immediately, it will begin following the previous normal operating ours of 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. (4:30 closure on weekends).
The main reason for the change, according to department spokesperson Jason Armstrong, was that the pilot evening program had revealed lighting problems in some areas of the pool.
“The lifeguards have be able to see the patrons in order to ensure their safety,” he said.
Armstrong said that he knew of no specific incident that had provoked the sudden stop of the program.
“We just implemented the program this month. We tried it out, and we saw some areas that needed to be improved upon” he said. When it was discovered that certain areas were inadequately lighted, “Rather than continue with those problems in place, we thought we’d stop and fix the problems.”
When the evening hours can resume will depend on how fast the department can find funding for the extra lighting. Armstrong said he couldn’t estimate how long that would take.
“We’re looking for the money and we’re hopeful of finding it. We’re about halfway through the through the fiscal year and this is not something we’d budgeted for,’ he said. “We’d have to figure what the cost is going to be, find funding and then go through the procurement in order to obtain the improvement. “
Governor David Ige has nominated Carleton Ching, Castle & Cooke Hawaii’s Vice President of Community and Government Relationships, to head the Department of Land and Natural Resources. But the nomination, only announced last Friday night, has already spawned joint opposition from a broad coalition of groups ranging from the Sierra Club to community associations, and an anti-Ching online petition that has garnered over 5,000 signatures.
“Stewardship of Hawaii’s unique resources is one of the most critical tasks of State government, and Carleton Ching has the heart, knowledge and skills to lead the Department of Land and Natural Resources. No one understands better the complex issues this Department handles and how to balance the needs of our environment and our residents,” Ige said in his announcement of the nomination. Ige noted that “early on” in Ching’s career, “he spent a decade with the Hawaii Housing Authority where he specialized in building affordable homes. From his time at the Authority he is best known for his role in facilitating a resolution to the contentious conflict between the Waihole-Waikane Community Association and the state.”
Ching’s account on LinkedIn, a popular social medium for business networkers and job seekers, lists his skills as “Marketing, real estate, first time home buyers, investment properties, residential homes, public relations and budgets.” But it makes no mention of any skills related to public service, land management or conservation practices—an omission that over eighteen organizations latched onto in a joint statement blasting the nomination, noting that “He has no demonstrated expertise in managing the cultural and natural resources that fall under the department’s purview, including but not limited to endangered species, iwi, ceded land, water resources, forests, beaches, coral reefs, fishing and hunting resources, historic sites, and state parks.”
The statement was endorsed concurrently by Sierra Club, The Outdoor Circle, Conservation Council for Hawai‘i, KAHEA: The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance, Hawai‘i’s Thousand Friends, Life of the Land, Friends of Lana‘i, Progressive Democrats of Hawai‘i, Earthjustice, Defend O‘ahu Coalition, Surfrider Foundation, Hawai‘i Wildlife Fund, Hawai‘i Alliance for Progressive Action, Hui Ho‘omalu I Ka ‘Aina, Kupa‘a No Lana‘i, LOST FISH Coalition, MANA (Movement for Aloha No Ka ‘Aina), Maui Tomorrow, Puna Pono Alliance, Wailua-Kapa‘a Neighborhood Association, West Maui Preservation Association, and ‘Ilio’ulaokalani Coalition.
The Hawaii State Sierra Club took its criticism farther, pointing out Ching’s close ties to the real estate/construction industry. In a release about the nomination on the club’s Web site, club spokesperson Anthony Aalto noted that Ching has “lobbied for developer Castle and Cooke, [has] served as a director on the Building Industry Association of Hawai`i and as vice-President of the Land Use Research Foundation, which according to its Web site is ‘devoted exclusively to promoting the interests of the development community.’ Both organizations have consistently lobbied to weaken laws that protect the state’s cultural and natural resources.”
The Land Use Research Foundation has not updated its list of officers on the organization’s Web site since 2010, when Ching was listed as a “Vice President.” But the site still lists Ching as Castle and Cook’s contact for the Foundation, whose membership is comprised of at least 25 major landowning and development companies and trusts including Alexander and Baldwin, Kamehameha Schools, W. H. Shipman and Hokulia developer Oceanside 1250.
As Castle and Cooke’s PR man, Ching as taken the point on such controversial projects as Koa Ridge Makai, a “master planned community” in Wahiawa, which has been stalled for over a two decades by opposition from the Public Land Use Commission, the Hawaii Sierra Club, the Mililani Waipio Neighborhood Board and other organizations. Sierra Club is still collecting donations to continue an advertising campaign against Koa Ridge. Ching also served as spokesman and sometime defender of Castle and Cook’s sole owner, California-based mogul David Murdock, in the latter’s closure of the island of Lanai’s pineapple plantations, its development into luxury hotels and real estate, and the island’s sale to Internet billionaire Larry Ellison; in one article, he reportedly opined that “Murdock has had his critics, but he [Ching] believes Lanai would be worse off had Murdock not stepped in.” Before his current job, Ching worked for now-defunct developer Westloch, Inc., Castle & Cooke Kunia, Molokai Ranch and engineering firm SSFM International.
The governor’s announcement of the nomination put its own spin on Ching’s career.
“Ching has devoted much of his career to creating communities for Hawaii’s residents,” it said, and described Ching’s activities with Castle & Cooke thus: “he supports the organization’s real estate, agricultural and renewable energy initiatives.”
26 Jan 2015 / Uncategorized
After several day’s hiatus, Pele is advancing again. Hawaii County Civil Defense announced this morning that the north-side breakout had advanced about 50 yards since yesterday morning, reaching a point about..36 miles above Highway 130 west of the Pahoa Police and Fire Stations. Hawaii Volcano Observatory noted that “Breakouts along the margins of this lobe are also widening the flow” and that breakouts one to 1 1/2 miles upslope “remained active but have not advanced significantly. Additional active breakouts within the flow field and along the flow margins were also noted and smoke from resulting fires was evident in HVO Webcams.”
Civil Defense reported that smoke conditions were “light to moderate,” blowing southwestward from the flow area.
25 Jan 2015 / Uncategorized
Oahu Senator Laura Thielen says that when she polled Hawaii voters recently about issues for the legislature to tackle, “The issue with the highest popular support was to increase reporting on the money in and around politics – by elected officials as well as appointed ones.”
To address that concern, Thielen, Puna’s State Senator Russell Ruderman and others have sponsored a set of five bills, described below. Voters can testify on and follow the progress of these bills at the links given below, and can find and track other bills of interest at www.capitol.hawaii.gov, the state legislature’s official site.
SB505 Ethics; Financial Disclosure; Client Disclosure; State Executives RELATING TO FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE STATEMENTS. Requires the governor, lieutenant governor, members of the legislature, governor-appointed executive of each principal department, president of the University of Hawaii, superintendent of education, administrative director of the State, administrative director of the courts, and the administrator of the office of Hawaiian affairs to disclose any income of $1,000 or more received from a business or service, the name of the person or business from whom the income was received, date the income was received, and a description of the services or goods rendered. SB506 Lobbyists; Statement of Expenditures; Reporting RELATING TO LOBBYISTS. Requires lobbyists and specified individuals to file two additional reports to the Hawaii State Ethics Commission, including one report on the second Friday of August and one report on the first Monday of November in general election years, similarly to the filing frequency that candidate’s and the treasurer of candidate committees are required to file pursuant to section 11-334, Hawaii Revised Statutes. SB507 Ethics; Disclosure; Lobbyists; Contractual Relationships RELATING TO LOBBYISTS. Requires lobbyists and persons, including a corporation, union, association, firm, sole proprietorship, partnership, organization, or committee, to file a report to the state ethics commission to disclose contractual relationships between the lobbyist or person filing the statement and a member of the legislature, a governor-appointed executive of a principal department, or a mayor-appointed county cabinet member. SB508 Campaign Finance; Elections; Noncandidate Committee Preliminary Reports; Filing Date RELATING TO CAMPAIGN FINANCE. Requires noncandidate committee preliminary reports to be filed on October 1 of a general election year, rather than ten days prior to the general election. SB509 Attorney General; Statement for Proposed Constitutional Amendments RELATING TO PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS. Requires the attorney general to prepare a statement for each proposed constitutional amendment in plain English that indicates the purpose, limitations, and effects of the proposed amendment. Requires the attorney general to distribute each statement to the state office of elections and all county clerks for further distribution. Requires the office of elections and county clerks to make each statement available to the public in all physical or online sites where they make proposed constitutional amendment questions available to the public.
24 Jan 2015 / Uncategorized
Puna councilors Gregor Ilagan and Danny Paleka, Jr. are going after the early bird votet his Monday. The two will be guests on Sherry Bracken’s Island Issues program, which airs on KKOA 107.7 fm at 6:30 a.m. and at Lava 105.3 fm at 8 a.m.
Pele appears to be taking a breather again. Hawaii County Civil Defense reported this morning that “the original flow front and south margin breakout remain stalled. The breakout along the north side of the flow [the one that was most advanced and appeared to be headed toward the Pahoa police and fire stations] continues to be active however very sluggish has not advanced since yesterday.” Flows upslope also appeared to be active but “sluggish” with little forward progress.
So the lava, for now, appears to be nearly stalled out, approximately .4 miles above Highway 130.
19 Jan 2015 / letters
Passing on this important & timely news from Puna Pono Alliance on the meeting tonight with Puna Geothermal Ventures.
How would you like to hear the roar of jet engines in your backyard for 2 or 5 1/2 months – night & day? Even though it’s against the law. Can you imagine this horror in your own neighborhood? Please support your neighbors in any way you can, it could be your neighborhood next.
And keep in mind, the legislature passed a bill that says ‘geothermal hydraulic fracturing’ – ‘Geo-Fracking’ is now allowed anywhere in Hawai`i. It’s not just a Puna problem. (Hawai`i County’s ban on fracking has yet to be challenged)
Please give any help you can to: punapono.comMahalo,Shannon RudolphP.S. Some information from the punapono.com Web site:
Geothermal Update, January 18, 2015. View this email in your browser
Geothermal Update 1/18/15
Drilling Alert PGV has joined forces with Puna Council reps, Greggor Illigan, and Danny Paleka, to actively campaign against the night time drilling ban we enacted to protect our community from PGV’s previous impacts due to 20 years of poor drilling practices .
Specifically, Paleka, and Illigan, support PGV’s stated intention to drill 24/7 in violation of the night time drilling ban.
Several, major accidents and missteps at the PGV power plant last year, resulted in harm to our community again, and both DOH and EPA cited PGV last year for numerous violations of their permits.
In discounting and essentially disregarding what this community has endured at the hands of PGV, both council members Illigan and Paleka have said publicly they supportPGV intention to drill at night regardless of the law. That of course is in direct conflict with the communities best interest. These council reps are doing this with no legal experience to speak of and without even bothering to ask for a legal opinion from the Corporation Council. They instead are relying on a special interest (PGV) to interpret the law. This is an example of how bad government works to the detriment of the community, we should shine a light on this type of improper behavior by our our elected officials. In this case corporate interest have clearly been put ahead of the public interest by these 2 elected officials to benefit a special interest at expense of our community.
I went to Danny’s office to talk to him about this and ask for a copy of corp council’s opinion, he told me he never talked to them. He then promised to do so promptly, but don’t hold your breath. We will probably have to do that as well.
I also spoke with Council member Aaron Chung (an attorney), who told me he disagrees with Paleka, Illigan, and PGV.. In fact he agrees with PPA and the community, – the law applies to PGV as written. He based his opinion as do we on reading the law and the permit requirements that “PGV obey that law and all county laws.
In my opinion it is dangerous and unfortunate that Illigan and Paleka appear to be playing fast and loose with the best interest of our Puna community to benefit a special interest (PGV). I see no valid reason for them to fight for PGV against the community on this law. It is a sad commentary on the state of our county government.
Puna Pono Alliance needs your support now, this is our chance, let PGV know how you feel about the planned drilling now – before it starts.
When: Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) community meeting on January 19, @6:30pm.
Where: Pahoa High School Cafeteria.
Why: PGV plans to drill without following the county ordinance that prohibits drilling between 7 PM and 7 AM
Background: On January 19, next Monday, Puna Geothermal Venture is holding a community meeting. At that meeting they will be discussing upcoming drilling, currently scheduled from late January until March. During that drilling, PGV does not plan to comply with a county ordinance that requires drilling activity to stop between 7 PM and 7 AM.
This intended action is an insult to the community and to those who must bear the personal cost of PGV actions. If you live close to PGV, we ask that you come to the meeting in a show of solidarity in which we say you must stop placing community families second. If you live elsewhere we ask that you show your support for our neighbors that are being sacrificed to corporate convenience.
Thank you again for your past support in helping us defend our neighborhood from industrialization. We passed a law, now we need to let them know we intend to see the law enforced.
This is an update from the PPA noise committee…..There is an app for that (noise)…..
As you may have heard, PGV is planning to begin drilling a new well on January 25 and they say they expect it to go on for 3 months. The last time they drilled a well, it went on for 5 1/2 months and it made life miserable for people near the plant.
Despite a Hawaii County ordinance which bans nighttime drilling from 7 pm to 7 am, passed by the Hawaii County Council in response to PGV’s last drill , PGV says they will drill day and night because–they say–the ordinance does not apply to them.
We need the help of those that live close to the plant because if we don’t step up, PGVwill continue to drill day and night–and they drill new wells every few years.
Paul Kuykendall and Suzanne Wakelin are working to document the noise and its impact on neighbors to force the county and state to address it as a health and quality of life issue.
The good news is that we live in an age where we can capture data via crowd-sourcing that will build our case with some very cool, high tech tools. We are going to useNoiseTube to collect and collate data using mobile phones which we can later analyze and show on google maps to quantify the noise impact.
To learn more about NoiseTube, please follow this link to a short Scientific American article:
Here is a link to the NoiseTube webpage for more information:
We need your help to be successful. Please support us by doing the following:
1. Respond to this email with your phone number and consent to receive email updates on this project.
2. Please meet us at HAAS this Tuesday January 20 at 3:30 pm (before the usual PunaPono Meeting) for a 30 minute training on how to use the crowdsourcing App
Please be prompt because we will only have 30 minutes.
3. If you can, please download the free app to your mobile phone by following the link below. It has instructions on how to download to an Iphone and an Android phone. If you do it before the training, we can show you how to use it.
4. Please share this email with friends and neighbors who could be negatively affected by the drilling noise.
If you want to help us stop PGV from illegally drilling at night, we need help this Monday,
If you want to connect with PPA, please come to the 4 o’clock meeting this Tuesday at HAAS School……
From Mike Kaleikini:
Aloha mai kakou,
As part of PGV and Ormat’s ongoing commitment to provide regular educational outreach, we have scheduled our next meeting as follows:
Date: Monday, January 19, 2015
Time: 6:30 – 8 PM
Place: Pahoa High School Cafeteria
Topics being reviewed:
- 2014 Year in review
- Updates on activities (drilling) associated with the facility
There will be some time set aside for a question and answering session.Mahalo,Mike.
The UH Hilo Performing Arts Department announces auditions for Hilo: Da Musical, on Monday and Wednesday, January 19 and 21 promptly at 7:00 p.m. and ending at 9:30 p.m. on the Performing Arts Center stage. Rehearsals begin the last week of January and the show will run for one weekend, April 16-19.
The musical was written by UHH drama professor, Jackie Pualani Johnson, for college-age and older actors. Copies of the script can be perused in the back hallway of the Performing Arts Center beginning January 7.
The story centers around H?k? and his sister Leinani, and their best friend, “Choke,” college students who go on a search through Hilo’s famous landmarks and activities. Several characters speak Pidgin English, others speak Hawaiian, and everyone sings.
Secondary leads include Police Sargent K?n?wai, who has a double life as a celebrity; a mysterious character, Wahine ‘Ula’Ula; and two visitors from worlds beyond. Chorus members will play multiple characters and an ensemble of singing ladies will share musical antics.
No experience is necessary. Songs will be taught at auditions to test vocal range and style. It is advised that all wear local-style clothing that allows movement.
Madame Pele is still on the march toward Highway 130, but her rate of travel slowed over the last 24 hours.
Civil Defense reported this morning that the flow’s current leading edge, located above the Pahoa fire and police stations, advanced about 70 yards since yesterday, as compared to 120 yards the previous day. That flow is still listed as approximately .4 miles above Highway 130 Hawaii Volcano Observatory, which has been monitoring the mauka lava tongue that’s been crawling toward a rendezvous with the highway in the Maku`u area, has made no new reports about it since Friday. Civil Defense simply reports that that flow and another mauka tongue remain “active” but “sluggish and showing little sign of advancement.”
Light rains in the area are moderating the dangers from wildfire and air pollution this morning. Civil Defense reports that “All fires that occurred are contained with [in (?)] the fire break perimeters and all burning activity is limited to hot spots and flare ups within the fire perimeters.” The overall level of smoke and vog pollution has changed from “heavy” yesterday to “moderate” today, and the wind has shifted directions, blowing smoke and vog southwestward, away from Hilo and Lower Puna, although Civil Defense still warns that “Smoke conditions may increase in some areas and individuals who may be sensitive or have respiratory problems are advised to take necessary precautions and to remain indoors.”
17 Jan 2015 / Uncategorized
Last week’s Supreme Court decision to review the constitutionality of discriminatory marriage laws in four states prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying was not only historic, but also the right thing to do. Equality means everyone.
Important constitutional principles regarding human rights are heading towards a long-overdue day in the sun.
Presently 14 states still deprive gays and lesbians of their constitutional rights, and that’s plain wrong. Only by striking down discriminatory marriage laws that deny a couple of the fundemental right to marry will America achieve full nationwide marriage equality.
We should know by the end of June whether the Supreme Court truly stands for everyone, as in justice for all. Let us hope and trust that same-sex marriage becomes recognized nationwide. Equality requires nothing less.
Michael Ra Bouchard, Ph.D.
Pahoa , Hawaii
The lava flow has a new leading edge, and it’s moving relatively fast. According to Hawaii Volcano Observatory’s and Hawaii County Civil Defense’s morning reports, the lobe that recently broke out about 765 yards upslope and to the north of the stalled tip had advanced overnight by about 120 yards, passing the former leading edge and reaching to within .4 miles of Highway 130 in the vicinity of the Pahoa fire and police stations.
The northern flow lobe that broke out from the main flow about 1.5 miles upslope is still active as well, but moving sluggishly. if it continues, it could reach a steepest-descent path that would cross Highway 130 about half a mile south of the Maku?u Farmer’s Market.
The flow activity, combined with dry weather and a southwest wind, continues to generate brushfires in the area between the flow and Ainaloa Subdivision. Hawaii Fire Department units are on scene, monitoring fire activity, and bulldozers are clearing or dressing firebreaks above Ainaloa and between the flow’s leading edge and houses along Highway 130.
Civil defense reports continued heavy vog and smoke in Lower Puna and Hilo.
16 Jan 2015 / BULLETINS
From the County of Hawaii:
This is a Department of Water Supply (DWS) emergency water restriction notice for Friday, January 16, 2015 at 4:15 p.m.
A water restriction advisory is now in effect for Kea’au residents on Milo street from ‘Ohe Street down to Railroad Avenue including customers in Ulupono Subdivision and 8-1/2 Mile Camp (Mill Camp) subdivision. Recent reports of low to no pressure in water service for this area are now being investigated. Until further notice, affected area customers are advised to restrict water use to essential needs only:
· Keep water use to an absolute minimum.
· Water should be used for essentials only (cooking, drinking and sanitation.)
· Do not wash cars or water lawns.
· Turn off or disconnect any devices or fixtures that regularly draw water. Such devices include automatic icemakers and irrigation systems.
A water tanker will be located on Milo Street to supply affected residents with drinking water.
For any emergency water concerns call 961-8790.
Your cooperation is needed and appreciated.
Hawaii Police Department reported this afternoon that a counterfeiter has been ripping off farmers’ market vendors and other merchants with bogus $50 bills
“A man reported Wednesday (January 14) that several vendors at farmers markets in Hilo and Puna had received the counterfeit bills. Police also received reports from other businesses in both districts,” read an HPD public notice. Anyone else who has received a suspicious bill or who has any information about the person(s) distributing them should call the police non-emergency line, 935-3311
Those who would rather remain anonymous can call the Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may qualify for a reward of up to $1,000.