Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Friends of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park operates the Youth Ranger Program in conjunction with the park. The two entities won the 2015 Partnership Award for Public Lands Partners. Photo by Jesse Tunison
ONE HUNDRED PERCENT RENEWABLE ENERGY in Hawai`i is the target for 2045, according to two bills that moved between chambers at the 2015 Hawai`i State Legislature before tomorrow’s crossover deadline. 
      Kathryn Mykleseth, of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, interviewed Gov. David Ige yesterday to discuss his energy goals. According to the story in print, online and on video, Ige “laid out his vision to wean Hawai`i off fossil fuels Tuesday, listing the increased use of batteries with solar systems, the short-term use of liquefied natural gas and the reduction in incentives paid to solar owners as changes he’d like to see.”
Gov. David Ige
      He told the Star-Advertiser that he agrees with setting a goal of 100 percent renewable energy but did not provide an exact date for reaching that mark, saying he wants targets that are “aspirational but not out of touch with reality.”
      “Concerns that I have as governor and that we will ensure through the process, the regulatory review process, is really that the community’s and the public’s interest is exercised and examined,” Ige said in an exclusive interview with the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
      Ige said he considers batteries as key to renewable energy. “We see battery prices dropping all the time,” he said. “There is significant interest and investment in that. That will allow us to move forward with the renewables.”
      Ige told Mykleseth that the state needs to encourage battery use with solar systems. “We need to encourage investment in them and figure out how we can get them into the grid,” he said.
      Regarding LNG, Ige said he sees it as a bridge fuel during the transition to renewables. “LNG does offer the opportunity to reduce costs in the near term, but it is still an imported fossil fuel.”
      However, Blue Planet Foundation Executive Director Jeff Mikulina said, “We don’t want to be addicted to another fossil fuel that doesn’t service our interest in a low-cost, low-carbon future. No one has articulated what that bridge looks like.” 
      Changing net energy metering is another important factor in Hawai`i’s energy future, according to Ige. Through NEM, customers with rooftop solar connected to the grid can sell excess energy to the utility. “We do need to make adjustments,” Ige told Mykleseth. “We’ve changed … the power purchase agreements, and it does make sense that we look at changing the net energy metering. The challenge is how do you deal with people who have made the investments previously and what is fair to them and how do you get equity amongst all the new people coming on line?”
      Regarding the merger of Hawaiian Electric Co. with NextEra Energy, Ige said, “We have started and initiated this path to a renewable future, so we want to make certain that the acquisition, or the proposed acquisition, really doesn’t hamper or deter from our long-term commitment to 100 percent renewable future for the electric utility.”  
      See staradvertiser.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

State Sen. Josh Green
STATE SEN. JOSH GREEN’S BILL regarding health impacts of pesticides is advancing at the state Legislature, having been passed on to the House of Representatives for further consideration. SB 1037 calls for the state Department of Agriculture to establish and administer a program relating to disclosure of pesticide use. 
      The department would develop a standardized form that pesticide users would fill out and turn in to the department to report pesticides used in the preceding month. For each use, the report would include the pesticide’s trade name, federal and state registration or permit number, commercial product name, active and inert ingredients and gallons or pounds used; the method, date and total quantity of each application; the geographic location of each application, by address and tax map key number; and the total acreage and area size where the pesticide was used.
      See capitol.hawaii.gov to read the bill and testimony as well as provide testimony.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

SENS. MAZIE HIRONO AND BRIAN SCHATZ, joined by Alaska’s Sen. Lisa Murkowski, have introduced legislation that would exempt Hawai`i, Alaska and communities that rely on essential air service as subsidized by the U.S. Department of Transportation from the increase in air travel fees included in the Bipartisan Budget Agreement of 2013. This exemption would protect interisland flights in Hawai`i and intrastate flights in Alaska from increased air travel fees, which have more than doubled from $2.50 to $5.60 per enplanement.
       “Raising air travel fees puts an unfair burden on the people of Hawai`i for whom air travel is essential, and I will continue to oppose such increases,” Hirono said. “Hawai`i residents and visitors have no real alternative to commercial interisland flights to meet their everyday transportation needs, from flying to receive health care, visit family or on business. As a result, the increased passenger fee has a real effect on Hawai`i families and small businesses that aren’t felt in other parts of the country. This bipartisan legislation that I also introduced last year ensures that people in Hawai`i and Alaska are shielded from higher fees, particularly for air travel within our states.”
       Schatz said, “Air travel is a necessity, not a luxury in our island state. Rising TSA fees put an unfair burden on Hawai`i residents who depend on air travel for work, health care and to visit family. Our legislation recognizes our geographic realities and would exempt Hawai`i and Alaska from unfair travel fees.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Youth Ranger Fernando Ramangmou trains for search
and rescue missions through a program with funds
raised by Friends of Hawai`i Volcanoes National
Park. NPS photo by David Boyle
FRIENDS OF HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK and Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park received the Association of Partners for Public Lands 2015 Partnership Award for Public Lands Partners. 
      According to APPL, the Public Lands Partners Award recognizes “an exemplary partnership for a stunning achievement to protect and preserve our public lands and enhance the experiences of their visitors and users.” The award is presented in tandem to both the nonprofit and agency partners for their shared achievements.
      “We rely on the support of our Friends group, which is vital to the success of many park programs, including the Youth Ranger Internship Program, now in its sixth year, and the upcoming BioBlitz and Biodiversity & Cultural Festival in May,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “It is wonderful to be recognized for such a positive and essential partnership,” she said.
      Because of the partnership, nearly 140 high school students in Ka`u and Puna have landed paid internships in the park since 2010, and thousands of island residents, visitors and schoolchildren will be able to participate with scientists in discovering the unique biodiversity of the park.
      The organization’s mission is to support the park in the protection, preservation and interpretation of the natural and cultural resources for the enjoyment of current and future generations. It has raised more than $700,000 for the national park since 2009.
      “We are honored to share this award with Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park,” said Elizabeth Fien, Executive Director of FHVNP. “We have a very collaborative partnership that exemplifies the way nonprofits should work with public land agencies.”
      The APPL Partnership Awards celebrate the best in public lands partnerships, recognizing individuals, organizations, publications, products, programs and services that embody leading edge achievements in the preservation of public lands and the enrichment of visitors.
For over 35 years, APPL has served as the national voice for nonprofit public lands partners and has strengthened its membership through education, information sharing and representation. Its membership is comprised of nonprofit organizations whose missions embrace a vibrant future for the nation’s natural and cultural heritage.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

KA`U SCENIC BYWAY COMMITTEE meets tomorrow at 5 p.m. at Na`alehu Methodist Church. The public is invited. For more information, email richmorrow@alohabroadband.net

KA`U CHAPTER OF HAWAI`I FARMERS UNION UNITED meets Saturday, March 14 at 9 a.m. at Gilligan’s Café in Discovery Harbour. Topics include a review of the organization’s mission, a legislative update and, tentatively, a guest speaker on marijuana legislation. 
      For more information, email Marla Hunter at

BOYS & GIRLS CLUB of the Big Island encourages Ka`u residents to attend its third annual Youth of the Year Banquet & Awards Ceremony Friday, March 20 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Hilo Hawaiian Hotel. The theme is Inspiring Youth, and participants can dress as what they wanted to be when they were young.
      To purchase tickets and for more information, contact Gail Hamasu at gail@bgcbi.org or 961-5536.


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