• 16 Feb 2015 /  Uncategorized

    Hawai Electric Light Company’s evening Web site report claims that about 1,100 households were still without power in Ainaloa, Hawaiian Beaches, Nanawale, Leilani Estates, Lanipuna, and Hawaiian Acres as of 4 p.m. today. “Due to extensive damage caused by fallen trees, electric service for customers in Nanawale, Leilani Estates, and Lanipuna is expected to be restored by Wednesday,”  the release noted. It also stated that crews today restored power to  approximately 500 customers in portions of Hawaiian Paradise Park, Orchidland, Hawaiian Beaches, Leilani Estates, Lanipuna, and Hawaiian Acres.

    The release gave no explanation as to why those figures didn’t jive with yesterday’s, when the company reported that about 2,900 customers were still without power.  The Chronicle has sent HELCO a  query about what happened to the other 1,300 households. We’ll let you know what they said if they reply.

     

     

  • 15 Feb 2015 /  BULLETINS, Energy, news

    As of  4 p.m. today, approximately 2,900 island residents, mostly  Puna and Ka’u,  remained without power, according to HELCO–and some can expect to remain without electricity for days.

    The utility said it had restored power to 1,100 customers from North Kohala to Lower Puna since yesterday’s high winds, but some residents remained without power in in portions of Leilani Estates, Nanawale, Lanipuna, Hawaiian Paradise Park, Orchidland, Ainaloa, Hawaiian Beaches, Nanawale, Tangerine Acres, Leilani Estates, Fern Forest, Fern Acres, Hawaiian Acres, Eden Roc, Wood Valley, South Point, and Ahualoa.

    “Due to extensive damage, customers in Hawaiian Beaches, Hawaiian Shores, Nanawale, Leilani Estates, and Lanipuna are advised to prepare for the possibility of extended outages through this week,” stated a message on the company’s Web site this evening.

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  • 15 Feb 2015 /  letters

    Dear Editor,

    I was lucky in I983 to see Pu’u O’o fountaining while visiting my folks in Leilani Estates.  Residents and tourists alike witnessed as Pele covered Kamoamoa, Waha’ula, Royal Gardens, Queen’s Bath and Kalapana.  During this volatile and spectacular time in Pele’s history, Harry Kim was Civil Defense, a calm cool breeze to the people who were losing their homes to the hot lava. Residents were included every step of the way, and Mr. Kim probably spent more time in Kalapana then at home.

    In contrast, Act 111 establishes an indefinite emergency state in Puna to hopefully receive federal money to help pay for Big Island lava woes.  Terrified residents start relocating immediately after attending a public meeting with fantasy HVO computer generated images of lava projections maps with blue flames covering Hawaiian Beaches, Ainaloa and Paradise Park.  Reputable mags like Newsweek had the lava crossing the highway and burning homes.  TV and Civil Defense screamed about dangerous lava, while politicians, newsmen, and comedians-turned-bully-advisors toured it.  To “protect” the rights and privacy of a few and “prevent” injuries to the foolish, Pahoa was split apart creating financial hardships to businesses, pedestrians, bus riders, as well as a traffic and logistical nightmare for Puna. This community has and is still is paying a very high price.

    Stepping back, I am fully aware that potentially affected infrastructure, commercial districts, schools and housing density is much greater than in Kalapana days.   I am also aware that our Hawaii lawmakers and planners approved those homes, schools and shopping centers, some along lines of steepest descent (blue lines).  Thirdly, Kilauea is an active volcano, which has continually flowed over our Puna landscape for eons.

    So, back to the subject, overnight hundreds of school children were forcibly relocated, and how many more households moved due to cancellation of Section 8 housing (shades of genocide?).  Pahoa’s Community Center was taken away from the community and appropriated to Civil Defense.  Our seniors were kicked out of their center and that was given back to the Fire Department.  The new skate park was barricaded and the center of quaint old Pahoa was and still is being used as our trash dump.

    Lava changed direction, and although no formal evacuation was ever ordered, for some strange reason, on the same day, in graceful unison, all corporate businesses (Malama Market, Ace Hardware, Lex Brodies, Malama Gas Station, Subway and Longs Drugs) packed their bags and left town.  This was while the flow was still over a half-mile away.

    Lava changed direction again, but now months of no large grocery, pharmacy, hardware, tire repair, and miles and hours lost waiting with the rest of lower Puna in the gridlock that may not have happened if the powers in charge had a more relaxed and steady approach, kind of like Pele.  Oh, and so you know, the County is charging Puna HeleOn bus riders an extra $1 per bag for groceries they need to buy in Keaau or Hilo and carry home to Pahoa since the market closed.

    How much money do Hawaii keiki owe for this current lava emergency? How are we financing this? How will we get back the 22.2 million dollars taken from our Pahoa park fund?  Is the geothermal relocation money still in the bank (since mayor stopped relocation)?  Has government poached monies meant for other Puna projects?   All of this and Pele has only taken one home.   We need some answers right away!

    Sara Steiner

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  • 15 Feb 2015 /  Uncategorized

    By Norma Jean Ream   

    Early March is the time when the energy of voice and action are gaining momentum for people, collective groups that share something, and the general collective of the 99% in the world.

    This is not a fluffy comfortable time of not noticing what is going on. This is a time of awakening power of the masses to make a point and to insist on pushing back against the take-over of all natural resources. I am still surprised and dismayed when I speak to someone that doesn’t have a clue about the TPP; Trans-Pacific-Partnership. That is just what the designers of this plan depend on: general ignorance.

    Through January and February the order of Congressional business has been pushed along by the agendas of those who have much to gain from a drowsy, uninterested public. Money is flowing in DC and decisions are being made that are going to shift reality in a major way before 2017.

    Looking around the planet, other countries are leading the way for upsetting the intentions of the 1%. Greece has a plan to change their economic reality in the immediate future by stopping the cycle of debt and bailouts. Spain and Hong Kong are seeing massive demonstrations where some of the largest groups in history are showing up to make a statement to their governments. Read the rest of this entry »

  • 15 Feb 2015 /  Uncategorized

    By Sofia Wilt

    Imagine that instead of the variety of foods that we have access to, humans were not only afforded meal replacement bars that touted being nutritionally complete.  No more fresh, raw or interestingly prepared foods, just the same bar day after day.

    We’d miss out on different tastes and textures, as well as various antioxidants, phytonutrients, enzymes, fats, vitamins and minerals that optimize health and ward off disease.  In truth, that’s basically what we’ve done to the diet of our canine companions.

    While most commercial dog food is “nutritionally complete,” it’s a far cry from an optimal diet and often contains questionable ingredients.  In modern times, dogs are experiencing an increase in disease like their human counterparts — things like cancer, arthritis, and diabetes due to poor quality food and lack of exercise are increasingly common.  Over the past few decades, there have been several pet food recalls because of tainted or poor quality ingredients that have injured or killed thousands of pets, including high-end brands sold at veterinary offices.  Ingredients that make up the bulk of the food, things like corn and soy are both GMO, doused in pesticides, and have nothing to do with your dogs’ ancestral diet.

    Whatever meat used is poor quality, unfit for human consumption, usually is some sort of “meal” or “by-product”, followed by synthetic supplemental vitamins and minerals, chemical food colorings, and is finished off with preservatives so it can be shelf stable for months on end.  Read the rest of this entry »

  • 14 Feb 2015 /  BULLETINS, Energy, news

    High winds have caused numerous power outages today–and as of 5:30, about 5,000 were still without Power, according to the HELCO Web site.

    The  utility reported that “an estimated 5,000 customers are without power in portions of Hawaiian Paradise Park, Orchidland, Ainaloa, Hawaiian Beaches, Hawaiian Shores, Kapoho, Nanawale, Leilani Estates, Fern Forest, Fern Acres, Hawaiian Acres, Eden Roc, Aloha Estates, Volcano Village, Hawi, Wood Valley, Hilo, and Waimea.” It advised customers in the Lower Puna subdivisions of Hawaiian Beaches, Hawaiian Shores, Kapoho, Nanawale, and Leilani Estates  to “prepare for extended outages which could last into next week and in some areas, much longer.”

    “In some areas, strong winds toppled trees and caused extensive damage to power lines and utility poles,” said the company’s press release. “Ongoing windy conditions make it unsafe for tree trimmers to clear roadways and for crews to conduct assessments and make repairs.”

    The company said custome’s trying to report outages “may experience a longer wait time before speaking with a representative.” Some customers who dialed the company’s infamous “number of the beast”–it’s 969-6666 customer service line– were met with busy signals several times before they got through to the company’s call waiting message.  One Volcano customer who did finally connect with a service representative said he was told that the company’s line crews were “swamped.”

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  • For the second time in a week, problems with the phone system in West Hawaii may be compromising residents abilities to use the emergency 911 phone number

    According to the  Hawaii Police Department, “Due to issues with phone services in West Hawaii, 911 and calls to the Police may be affected. It is requested that those needing police assistance who are having trouble making phone contact go to the nearest police station.”

     

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  • 14 Feb 2015 /  environment, health and wellness, news

    From the United States Geological Survey:

    ISLAND OF HAWAI`I, Hawaii—A new study to examine how people who live downwind of Kilauea Volcano cope with volcanic gas emissions, or vog, is currently underway. Led by Dr. Claire Horwell, Director of the International Volcanic Health Hazard Network and a researcher at Durham University in the United Kingdom, the study is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. It will reach across multiple agencies, organizations, and communities in the State of Hawaii to help ensure that official advice about living with vog incorporates a wide range of experiences and knowledge.

    Vog, the pollution formed from acidic gases and particles released by active volcanoes, is composed primarily of sulfur dioxide gas and its oxidation products, such as sulfate aerosol. Sulfur dioxide from Kilauea, now in its 33rd year of nearly continuous eruption, results in vog that continues to challenge communities, agriculture and infrastructure on the Island of Hawai`i, as well as across the State.

    Communities downwind from K?lauea’s active vents frequently experience vog as a visible haze or as a sulfurous smell or taste. People exposed to vog report a variety of symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing, sore throats, and headaches. The Hawaii State Department of Health and the American Lung Association offer advice on vog protection measures, such as staying indoors and limiting physical activity when vog levels are high.

    According to Dr. Horwell, she is investigating how Hawai?i communities use this advice and if they have developed their own strategies for protecting themselves from vog. “We’re working with State and county agencies with the end goal of providing consistent online advice, an informative pamphlet on vog exposure and protection, and updated guidance on how to access resources about vog,” she said.

    Knowledge gained from the study in Hawaii, which has been funded by the British Council under the Research Links initiative, will also be relevant internationally, not only in volcanically active regions but also farther afield, as volcanic gases can travel downwind for many miles. For example, UK government agencies can draw on the Hawaii study as they prepare for the potential effects of future Icelandic eruptions.

    Outcomes of the vog study will eventually be available online through the International Volcanic Health Hazard Network. IVHHN serves as a clearing house for information on the health impacts of volcanic eruptions and provides detailed information on volcanic gas and particle impacts.

    Dr. Horwell is currently meeting with community and agency focus groups on the Island of Hawai`i and, in the coming weeks, will conduct surveys in a number of communities regularly affected by vog, including Volcano, P?hala, Ocean View and South Kona.

    Hawai`i residents are encouraged to record how they cope with vog on the ‘Vog Talk’ Facebook page established by Dr. Horwell.

    Information on when and where community surveys will be conducted between now and the end of March is available on the ‘Vog Talk’ Facebook page or by calling .

    For more information about Kilauea Volcano’s ongoing eruptions, please visit the USGS HVO website. Answers to “Frequently Asked Questions about SO2 and Vog” are also available online.

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  • SB1374. Related to Land Exchange.  Would appropriate $500,000 from the Legacy Land Fund and the Land Conservation Fund to study the possibility of exchanging state Land for Dole Co. farmland on O’ahu.  Would appropriate an as-yet-to-be-determined amount from the Land Conservation Fund to study the possibility of exchanging state land for Dole land in order to build a new prison on O’ahu.Alert: Scheduled for joint committee hearing hearing today.

    SB 499. Requires major capital improvement projects of the State or a county involving an infrastructure improvement project or construction project to include in the environmental assessments and environmental impact statements an analysis of the environmental impact of projected sea level rise or fall over the anticipated lifespan of the project. Alert: Scheduled for joint committee hearing hearing today.

    To follow and/or testify, click on the links above.

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  • From the County of Hawaii Dept. of Environmental Management:

    Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) collection events will occur between 8:30 a.m. and
    3:30 p.m., as follows:

    Saturday, March 7, 2015 at the Waimea Recycling and Transfer Station.
    Sunday, March 8, 2015 at the Pahoa Recycling and Transfer Station.
    These events are for household generated and self-hauled waste only. Business,
    government agency or farm wastes are not allowed. NO electronic waste will be
    accepted.
    The County of Hawai‘i Department of Environmental Management holds these regular
    collection events so households can conveniently dispose of acceptable HHW in a
    manner that protects both public health and the environment. Some types of
    acceptable HHW are automotive fluids, used batteries, fluorescent lights and pesticides.
    Latex paint will only be accepted at the Waimea event. For a more complete list of
    acceptable or unacceptable HHW, please visit our website www.hawaiizerowaste.org.
    The Web site includes other useful information on solid waste diversion and recycling.
    If you are unable to attend the events described above, the next scheduled HHW
    Collection Events will be on June 6, 2015 in Hilo and June 13, 2015 in Kailua-Kona
    (Kealakehe).
    Please direct your comments or questions regarding these HHW Collection Events to
    Chris Chin-Chance, Recycling Specialist with the Department of Environmental
    Management at 961-8554 or email to  recycle3@co.hawaii.hi.us. Mahalo for your k?kua.

  • Aloha, everyone.  Believe it or not, some folks are still trying to eliminate the Land Use Commission.  Let’s stop them!   Please submit testimony opposing HB 828, Relating to Land Use, which guts the LUC and eliminates its fair, deliberative process for most land use classification boundary amendments.  This bill has serious implications, especially for agricultural and conservation land, public trust resources, traditional and customary practices, and quality of life.  The hearing is this Friday.  Please share this Kokua Alert with others.  Mahalo nui loa.

    Description:  Upon approval by county land use decision-making authority, and with concurrence from Land Use Commission, requires boundary amendments reflected in certain plans to be adopted in accordance with such approved plans.  Prioritizes funding for public infrastructure in areas of planned growth.

    Hearing:  House Committee on Water and Land, Chair Ryan Yamane, Vice Chair Ty Cullen
    Friday, February 13, 2015, 10 am Room 325

    Link to hearing notice:  http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=HB&billnumber=828&year=2015
    Link to bill: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2015/bills/HB828_.HTM
    Link to submit testimony:  http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/submittestimony.aspx

    Talking Points:

    Chair Yamane, Vice Chair Cullen, and Members of the Committee.

    I oppose HB 828 because it is not in the public’s best interest to politicize the Land Use Commission’s process for amending state land use classification boundaries.

    HB 828 requires the LUC to approve any district boundary amendment that is approved by a county council in any county general plan, development plan, or community plan.

    HB 828 will gut the LUC, making it a rubber-stamp body for narrow county and private interests.

    Developers cannot contribute money to Land Use Commissioners, but developers can – and do – contribute regularly to county council members, who would have authority over many boundary amendments if HB 828 passes.

    HB 828 could result in the immediate, rapid urbanization of thousands of acres of conservation and agricultural land across the state because there are large tracts of land already approved for urbanization in plans that have not been approved by the LUC.

    HB 828 would interfere with the LUC’s affirmative duty to protect constitutionally recognized Native Hawaiian traditional and customary rights and public trust resources.

    Many special places have been protected by the independent LUC and its fair process, including La‘au Point on west Moloka‘i, ‘O‘oma near Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park, Pohue Bay on the Big Island, and Keopuka next to Kealakekua Bay to name a few.

    HB 828 will eliminate the deliberative, quasi-judicial process – sometimes referred to as contested case hearings – for many important boundary amendments that would come before the LUC.

    Contested case hearings are the LUC’s most important power.  Contested case hearings are also one of the most valuable tools citizens, agencies, and businesses have to protect public trust resources.

    HB 828 would result in effectively taking away much-needed funds to repair aging infrastructure in existing areas where residents live and work by requiring the funding of infrastructure for areas of new growth.

    HB 828 appears to impose a duty on state and county agencies to provide funding for infrastructure (water, sewer, schools, roads, etc.) to support the new development without requiring the beneficiaries of the new infrastructure to pay any of the costs they are imposing on other taxpayers.

     

    –Marjorie Ziegler

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  • 11 Feb 2015 /  environment, news, State Legislature

    The House Committee on Committee on Ocean, Marine Resources, & Hawaiian Affairs will hold decision making on several measures relating to aquarium fishing and marine life. The bills were previously heard on Wednesday, February 11, and received nearly 4,000 pieces of testimony.

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  • 11 Feb 2015 /  BULLETINS

    From County Civil Defense:

    The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center reports that a magnitude 6.9 earthquake occurred in Northern Chile. Based on all available data, a destructive Pacific wide tsunami is not expected and there is no tsunami threat to Hawaii. Repeat, a destructive Pacific wide tsunami is not expected and there is no tsunami threat to Hawaii.

     

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  • HB1314 Emergency Home Relocation Special Fund; Appropriation.  Establishes the emergency home relocation special fund to assist persons dispossessed of their homes as a result of a natural disaster. Appropriates funds.

    HB1369 CIP; County of Hawaii; Road Repair and Maintenance; GO Bonds; Appropriation.  Authorizes general obligation bonds and appropriates funds to the county of Hawaii for the repair and maintenance of feeder roads and alternate routes for highway 130 and any portion of highway 130 under the jurisdiction of the county.

      HB737 Hawaii Hurricane Relief Fund; Hawaii Property Insurance Association.  Authorizes the Hawaii property insurance association to spend funds in the Hawaii hurricane relief fund to pay for extraordinary losses caused by the flow of lava or other volcanic activity.

    HB1320 Emergency Management; Tree Maintenance.  Authorizes entry into private property to mitigate hazards posed by trees to utility and communications lines and roadways. Assesses a fine of $150 per day against a landowner whose property must be entered for this purpose.

      HB383 Emergency Medical Services; Advanced Life Support Ambulance.  Makes an appropriation for one advanced life support ambulance to be based in Puna on the island of Hawaii and to be used from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., and to include a vehicle, equipment, and personnel costs.

     HB377 Mobile Health Unit; Appropriation.  Appropriates a grant to the Bay Clinic, Inc., for a mobile health unit to service the Puna district due to the threat of inaccessibility from the lava flow.

    HB374 Transportation; Harbors; Kapoho Bay; Feasibility Study.  Requires DOT to contract for a study on the feasibility of establishing a harbor or port at Kapoho bay.

      HB370 HPIA; Policy Renewals; Continued Coverage.  Requires member insurers of HPIA to renew policies that were in effect as of 1/1/2014. Provides for continued coverage under an existing HPIA policy upon a transfer in ownership of the property.

      HB380 HPIA; Mandatory Issuance of Policies; Removal of Moratorium.  Requires member insurers of HPIA to offer a minimum number of policies proportionate to their market share on properties that are situated in the areas designated for coverage by the insurance commissioner and that have been previously and continuously insured since 06/01/2014. Prohibits HPIA from issuing or continuing a moratorium on issuing policies on those same properties.

     HR6 Cellular; Broadband; Rural Communities.  Requests reports regarding state agency action to ensure access by rural communities to cellular and broadband services.

      HB376 Chief Election Officer; Elections Commission; Evaluation; Term Length.  Changes the term of the chief election officer to 2 years. Requires the elections commission to conduct a performance evaluation of the chief election officer within 2 months of certifying election results, and hold a public hearing relating to the performance evaluation.

    HB378 After School Bus Program; Island of Hawaii; Appropriation.  Restores funding for the after school bus program on the island of Hawaii that was excluded from the 2015-2017 executive biennium budget. Appropriates moneys.

      HB1155 Albizia Trees; Conservation and Resources Enforcement Special Fund; Appropriation.  Makes an appropriation from the conservation and resources enforcement special fund to DLNR for the removal of albizia trees on public and private land.

     HB88 County Fuel Tax; Hawaii County.  Permit’s Hawaii County to expend its share of fuel tax revenues for maintenance of private subdivision roads. Specifies that public entities are not required to install infrastructure on these roads upon a private sale.

    HB371 Foreclosures; Asset.  Prohibits a mortgage creditor from executing on any asset of the debtor beyond the asset that is secured by the mortgage.

     HB372 Marijuana; Civil Penalties for Possession of One Ounce or Less.  Establishes a civil violation for possession of one ounce or less of marijuana that is subject to fines.

     HB373 Transient Accommodations Tax.  Amends amount of transient accommodations tax revenues allocated to the counties from a specified sum to an unspecified percentage of the revenues collected.

     HB375 Attachment or Execution of Property; Exemptions.  Amends the thresholds for the exemption of real property from attachment or execution to be based upon the most recent real property tax assessment, regardless of value and for all types of property owners. Clarifies that attachment or execution does not apply to a debtor who is not delinquent in payment of income taxes, real property taxes, or mortgages. Bases the value threshold of certain personal property exempted from attachment and execution on the fair market value as adjusted by the consumer price index. Exempts child support moneys and tax refunds from the federal earned income tax credit and federal or state child support tax credit from attachment and execution.

     HB381 Homeowners’ Associations; Planned Community Associations.  Expands the law on planned community associations to apply to homeowners’ associations so that all disputes are mediated instead of going to court.

      HB382 Employees’ Retirement System; Division of Pension.  Requires the Employees’ Retirement System to divide pensions between a retired employee and non-employee former spouse or civil union partner, upon application and pursuant to a qualified domestic relations order. This has the effect of ensuring that employees for the full pension benefits and in the event of domestic violence spouse, victim need not ask for their share of pension.

    HB833 Transient Accommodations Tax; Counties; Revenues.  Makes permanent the current amount of transient accommodations tax revenues allocated for distribution to the counties. This allows the county of Hawaii to file and the State cannot lessen the county’s share of the annual hotel room tax

    HB1204 Procurement; Sustainable Procurements Manager; Appropriation.  Appropriates funds for a new position within the state procurement office tasked with facilitating the development and implementation of procurement processes for public agencies and private organizations for the purpose of food sustainability in Hawaii.

     HB1205 Hawaii-grown Food Procurement Task Force; Procurement; Appropriation.  Establishes and appropriates funds for the Hawaii-grown food procurement task force for the purpose of creating recommendations for increasing procurement of food grown in Hawaii by State departments and agencies.

    HB1206 University of Hawaii Sustainability Office; Appropriation.  Establishes the University of Hawaii sustainability office.  Appropriates funds.

    The public can participate in legislative discussions and follow the progress of the bills by logging onto the Capitol website at www.capitol.hawaii.gov.

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  • 06 Feb 2015 /  BULLETINS

    From Hawaii Police Department

    A Puna man apparently drowned Thursday (February 5) at Boiling Pots in Hilo.

    In response to a 5:13 p.m. call, police responded to Boiling Pots, where Fire Department rescue personnel located a submerged man, who was unresponsive, and attempted unsuccessfully to revive him.

    Witnesses said the man began struggling after swimming in an area under a waterfall.

    He was taken to Hilo Medical Center, where he was officially pronounced dead.

    Police have tentatively identified him as a 33-year-old P?hoa man but are withholding his name pending positive identification and notification of his family.

    Police do not suspect foul play. The case has been classified as a coroner’s inquest.

    An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.

  • 05 Feb 2015 /  health and wellness, news

    (Ed’s. Note: This article has been revised to include new information after the County Council’s vote. –AM)

    As  Puna Geothermal Ventures, prepares to sink yet another well in lower Puna and residents, including former Mayor Harry Kim, testified in protest of the company’s plan to ignore the county ordinance prohibiting night-time drilling, Bloomberg News announced today PGV’s parent company, Ormat, was  selling a 40 percent share in its Hawaii projects to an Ontario firm called Northleaf Capital Partners.

    “The joint venture will include geothermal plants in Hawaii and Nevada and as well as recovered-energy facilities that convert waste heat at industrial sites into electricity,” reported the Bloomberg article.  The deal was projected to be sealed by the end of this month.

    According to Bloomberg reporter Justin Doom, Ormat will retain operational control of the facilities, and will use the Northleaf’s $175 million cash infusion “’to support future growth’ and repay existing debt.”

    Five-year-old Northleaf, a “spin out” of TD Bank Investment group, bills itself as “Canada’s largest independent global private markets manager and advisor.”  The company has branches and investments in England, Australia, New Zealand, the U.S. and the Far East. Among its holdings are shares in Australian pipeline terminals and wind farms, Solar panel installations in England, and a tollway concession in Colorado.  The company currently serves as an investment conduit fo about $6 billion worth of commitments from “public, corporate and multi-employer pension plans, university endowments, financial institutions and family offices.

    That announcement came as residents on Hawaii Island were testifying at the Hawaii County Council on Resolutions 58-15,  which requests that PGV comply with the county’s  Ordinance 12-151 banning night-time drilling activities; and Ordinance  59-15, requesting the county’s Corporate Counsel to re-examine the night-time drilling issue. Among those testifying was former Mayor Harry Kim,  who pointed out legal regulations originally protecting the people and environment during geothermal development had been gutted by a later state law. Kim wondered why the resolution was even necessary: “Since when do you as a council have to pass a resolution to say what we pass is law, when it is law?”

    But the day ended up with a win for the company.  Puna Councilmember Gregor, who’d introduced both resolutions, withdrew the first resolution after a meeting with PGV’s Mike Kaleikini, and the council defeated the second by5-4 vote after a closed door meeting with Corporation Council.

    PGV has maintained that its right to do night-time drilling was grandfathered in by its permits from the state. But residents have complained about possible health effects from gas leaks and about jet-engine-like noise levels during drilling. This week Hilo Attorney Gary Zamber, representing the citizen’s group Puna Pono Alliance, filed a “suit for declaratory and injunctive relief” against PGV’s nighttime drilling plans. But according to an e-mail from PPA head Robert Petricci, the organization will await the outcome of the county’s efforts before deciding if it will actually pursue the suit in court. Given the council’s actions, that lawsuit is likely to go forward now.

    –Alan McNarie

     

     

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