New & Noteworthy: Save the Date, Hu Honua, DBEDT PR

posted in: July 2016 | 0

Save the Date: Robin Baird, the foremost expert on Hawai`i’s false killer whales and other resident cetaceans, will be the special guest speaker at the annual Environment Hawai`i dinner.

Date: August 21, Sunday.

Time: 6-8:30 pm

Place: `Imiloa Astronomy Center, Hilo

Cost: $65 per person (includes a $20 donation)

Baird, who has studied these cryptic animals for the last 17 years, will be speaking on the topic, “Conservation and Management of Hawai`i’s Whales and Dolphins.” His book, The Lives of Hawai`i’s Dolphins and Whales, will be published later this year by the University of Hawai`i Press.

Much more information about Baird’s work may be found in the Cascadia Research Collective’s website, www.cascadiaresearch.org.

To reserve a seat, please call our office at 808 934-0115 or send a check to Environment Hawai`i, 190 Keawe Street, #29, Hilo HI 96720.

Hu Honua Questions: Last month, the Public Utilities Commission issued a set of information requests to Hawaiian Electric and its subsidiary Big Island utility, Hawaiian Electric Light Company (HELCO) regarding the cancellation of a power purchase agreement with Hu Honua, the company proposing to build a biomass plant in Pepe`ekeo, on the Hamakua coast of the Big Island.

The utility cancelled the PPA, effective March 1. Now the PUC wants to know details of the negotiations, if any, between the utility and principals of Hu Honua – when, where, how they took place and who was involved. It also is asking for copies of “all documents prepared by or for” the utility concerning the decision to terminate the PPA; and “a summary of any internal discussions” on the matter, among other things.

The commission also wants to know what role, if any, HECO suitor NextEra played in the decision. Were any NextEra representatives “involved in any of the discussions or negotiations” concerning the decision to cancel the Hu Honua PPA? Were any NextEra representatives “required to approve the decision to terminate”? And, finally, “please state whether HELCO and/or the HECO companies discussed or consulted with any representatives of NextEra … with respect to the decision to terminate.”

A response was due by June 21.

Money Money Money: The Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism is proposing to spend $40,000 over the coming fiscal year in sponsorship of events “that promote and generate awareness of Hawai`i’s clean energy goals.” DBEDT’s Hawai`i State Energy Office (HSEO) filed the proposal with the state procurement office early last month.

According to the proposal, DBEDT will open a request for proposals. Applications will be evaluated by a committee, which will then recommend funding to the state procurement office.

And in case anyone wondered where the funds are coming from, according to the information presented to the procurement office, “HSEO sponsorships are 100% federally funded.”

Quote of the Month

“I would like to take these environmentalists outside the reef and give them a little cut and see how their families cry for them.” – Manny Duenas, former Wespac member

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