Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Monday, June 10, 2013

Polynesian voyager Chad Baybayan (far right) greets his aunt, Hawaiian Civic Club of Ka`u President Blossom DeSilva, and civic club members Alan Stafford and Casey DeSliva (far left). Hokule`a floats in Hilo Bay behind them. Photo by Nancy Stafford
THE HOKULE`A and its sister Polynesian sailing canoe Hikianalia will soon sail to South Point – to Kalae on the first leg of its voyage around the world. Ceremonies began Sunday in Hilo, with the east side of Hawai`i island selected to begin the voyage because it is a place of first light (sunrise) for Hawai`i. The canoes will travel for a year in the Hawaiian Islands before setting off to circumnavigate the globe. During the Hilo festivities Polynesian Voyaging Society founder Nainoa Thompson said that he awakened from a dream at 3 a.m. one morning and realized that the Hokule`a should not go around the world without the support of all the people of Hawai`i. He decided that the voyage should visit many communities in the Hawaiian Islands before setting out to as far off places as Latin America and Africa.
Ceremonial offerings to wish the voyagers a safe journey. Photo by Teresa Tico
Many Hawaiian groups, including the Hawaiian Civic Club of Ka`u, were represented. During the ceremonies the symbolism of the gift of Pohaku was explained. One rock will remain on the Big Island to anchor the voyage. The other will ride on the canoe around the world. Organizers said that as Hokule`a and Hikianalia sail, they will (symbolically) string a lei of aloha around the world.
         Nainoa Thompson said: “Protecting our ocean is the greatest environmental issue today. It’s not a green planet, it’s a blue one.” Speakers talked about a “DNA of Aloha” being embedded in the “divine energy of the Hawaiian islands,” and that voyagers will take the energy around the world to heal the planet and bring the people of the world together.
     About 15 members of Hawaiian Civic Club of the Ka`u attended. President Blossom De Silva said her nephew Chad Baybayan accompanied Thompson on the first journey of the Hokule`a in the South Pacific. He is now associate director for Imiola Astronomy Center in Hilo and gave a preview of the journey to the Ka`u club. De Silva and Civic Club boardmember Alan Stafford were welcomed aboard the Hokule`a and the Hikianalia. DeSilva said she could "feel the mana of the crew being together like a family, sailing in close quarters for such a long journey." 
Nainoa Thompson said he dreamed the canoes will visit all the
 islands before setting off around the world. Photo by Teresa Tico

MORE TESTIMONY HAS COME IN to the state Public Utilities Commission regarding the proposal to build a refinery along Wood Valley Road and a biofuel farm between Pahala and Na`alehu. Richard Sasaki, of Capt. Cook, told the PUC, “I lived in Pahala from 1970 to 1979. This bio diesel venture could be a scam and it doesn’t pass the common sense test.”
      Hawai`i Electric Light Co. and Hawaiian Electric Co. submitted testimony defending the `Aina Koa Pono plan. In addressing economic, land use and environmental concerns, the utilities stated, “Externalities are an important consideration, but they are often intangible and difficult to quantify because, unlike a straight mathematical equation, externalities are generally valued based on the perception of the person viewing the externality. Nevertheless, the Commission should consider that the AKP Biodiesel Supply Contract will create a direct economic benefit to the State and energy security, and is in line with the State's energy policy.”
           While there is a question of whether Ka`u farm land should be used for coffee, food crops and cattle production versus biofuel, the utilities state: “The AKP Bildiesel Supply Contract’s use of local energy crops supports local agriculture, and is consistent with State policy.”
Using land for growing more coffee or taking on biofuel
crops is one of the issues. Photo by Geneveve Fyvie
          While there is a question of whether there would be an impact on the community should the refinery be built, coffee farm expansion curtailed, ranchers evicted and AKP unable to produce the promised biofuel, the utilities state that the electric companies’ “customers bear no financial risk if the Microwave Catalytic Depolymerization technology fails to produce biodiesel that meets the AKP Biodiesel Supply Contract’s specifications.”
           The utilities sate that “The AKP Biodiesel Supply Contract is a critical part of a new chapter in the energy and agriculture industries in Hawai`i. The AKP Biodiesel Supply Contract will provide HELCO with between 14 million to 16 million gallons of biodiesel per year for 20 years, which is intended for use at HELCO's Keahole Power Plant As discussed in further detail below, the AKP Biodiesel Supply Contract will also benefit Hawaiian Electric, due to its RPS contribution.
      “As recognized in Governor Abercrombie's New Day plan, ‘Hawai`i's most important economic enterprise right now is to pursue energy independence.’ The Companies understand and support the significance of this vision and recognize the many important benefits of locally produced biofuels, including:
      “Creating new jobs in renewable fuel technology and agriculture;
      “Retaining a large portion of the billions of dollars that are now spent on imported oil and reinvesting those dollars here in Hawaii; increasing Hawaii's energy security and energy independence by having a local renewable source of fuels;
      “Converting fallow land for production of energy crops and invigorating Hawai`i's agriculture industry; supporting the State's goal of diversifying Hawaii's economy by encouraging the development of local agriculture;
      “Reducing greenhouse gas ("GHG") emissions; utilizing existing power generation infrastructure to provide clean electricity; and
      “Although the AKP Biodiesel Supply Contract sets forth contractual obligations for HELCO to purchase a minimum volume of 16 million gallons of biodiesel, it also provides AKP with the flexibility to adjust and set the volume amount in the early stage of the AKP Biodiesel Supply Contract, in the range of 14 to 16 million gallons, based on actual feedstock and biodiesel production yields. providing a local, renewable energy alternative for fossil fuels used for marine, land and aviation transportation, which represents two-thirds of the fossil fuel use in the State.”
Changing pasture land to biofuel is another issue in the `Aina Koa Pono decision.
Photo by Julia Neal

      The electric companies also put forth that they “recognize that it is necessary to advance renewable energy in a thoughtful and deliberate manner. The Companies believe that they and Hawai`i need to be at the forefront of renewable energy efforts in order to sustain Hawai`i for future generations.” 
      The utility company’s testimony also points out that the County of Hawai`i” concludes that the AKP Biodiesel Supply Contract is not reasonable, and should not be approved due to its ‘excessive biofuel price, long-term contract, unproven technology, lack of due –diligence, and associated negative externalities, including ‘crowding-out’ of better alternatives.”
      The utilities, however, disagree with the county’s findings, contending that the AKP project is “reasonable.”
      Regarding testimony submitted by Life of the Land regarding environmental concerns, the utilities contend that many of them would be “more appropriately addressed in the Project 
Command central for free health care in a Ka`u High School classroom. Photo by Julia Neal
permitting process, or in a mandatory environmental impact statement of environmental assessment process, if so required.” The utilities point to AKP having promised a “voluntary environmental assessment, which is tentatively scheduled to include the following: Socioeconomic Impact Assessment, Archaeological Inventory Survey Plan, Cultural Impact Assessment, Flora & Faunal Biological Assessment, and a Traffic Impact Assessment Report.”
      Rebuttals to the utility companies’ testimony is expected soon from Life of the Land and the County of Hawai`i. Both contend that the estimated price of $200 a barrel in a fixed 20-year contract could hold back other more affordable alternative energies.
      See more in tomorrow’s Ka`u News Briefs or read the entire testimony on the docket at http://dms.puc.hawaii.gov.
FREE HEALTH CARE FOR EVERYONE continues on the campus of Ka`u High School and Ocean View Community Center through Wednesday at noon. Tomorrow the clinics for dentistry, optometry, hearing, and general health are open from 8 a.m. until noon. Reservists from the Army , Navy and Air Force are on a practice mission for disasters and warfare through serving the Ka`u community at field hospitals set up in public buildings.

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