Puna Geothermal Venture’s $150,000 donation to Hawaii County aimed at helping Puna residents affected by the Kilauea eruption was unrelated to its request to build an emergency access road over the lava flow, says its Hawaii representative.
Mayor Harry Kim wrote a letter to Mike Kaleikini, senior director of Hawaii affairs for Ormat Technologies, PGV’s parent company, on Nov. 26 thanking the company for the donation to “help people affected by the Lower East Rift Zone eruption.”
The county gave PGV the go-ahead in early December to begin construction of its “pioneer road” over the lava channel to regain access to the lava-locked site off Highway 132 after another supplementary disaster declaration was issued. The declaration, dated Dec. 6, allows for modifications of the flow field when authorized by county Civil Defense and other agencies.
Kaleikini said Thursday that Ormat officials promised a six-figure donation to the county during the early days of the eruption, which started May 3. He said the meeting likely occurred in May or early June.
“They needed money for temporary housing,” Kaleikini said.
“Our intent was to help out with the eruption.”
Kim also said the donation was promised months in advance and was not related to the road access issue. He said the donation was made in early November, and County Council approval is needed to accept the funds.
Kim said the money will be set aside for use in Puna.
Subsequent to approving PGV’s grubbing and grading permit, the county issued a notice informing other property owners how they can apply for the permits.
The permit applications start at county Civil Defense before being reviewed by the departments of Planning and Public Works.
Talmadge Magno, Civil Defense administrator, said he was aware of six applications, including the one from PGV, that have come through his office.
It wasn’t immediately clear if other permits have been issued.
Kaleikini said PGV also donated 40-foot containers and supplies to the “Hub,” operated by Pu‘uhonua O Puna, and made a $25,000 donation to the Red Cross. He said employees also provided security at temporary shelters.
Email Tom Callis at email@example.com.