William Mautz errs in his Sept. 4 letter (“Not sustainable”). Honua Ola Bioenergy is not only sustainable, but will also reduce the level of greenhouse gas (GHG) by increasing the overall number of trees grown.
During the term of Honua Ola’s power purchase agreement with Hawaiian Electric, these trees will absorb more GHG than Honua Ola emits when operating.
Honua Ola will thereby become the first carbon-neutral power plant on the island. And, because Honua Ola committed to plant and grow more trees than it harvests, it will become carbon negative as soon as practicable.
The detailed modeling scenarios submitted to the state Public Utilities Commission in Honua Ola’s GHG analysis supplement and update show GHG levels will decrease when Honua Ola starts to produce renewable energy and as its forestry operations begin increasing the number of trees planted and grown, absorbing ever-greater amounts of carbon dioxide.
Honua Ola, in partnership with the National Forest Foundation, will also plant 3,125,000 trees in U.S. national forests; 625,000 native trees will be planted each year for the next five years, beginning when the Honua Ola facility goes into service. These plantings represent more biomass grown than Honua Ola uses per year and, by themselves, would make the project carbon negative for the first five years.
Additionally, professor Mautz should know the trees grow in commercially managed forests and would not be here if they were not planned for some commercial use. The potential for commercial use caused these trees to be planted, resulting in GHGs being reduced.
All renewable energy projects reduce overall GHG emissions by allowing utilities to cut down their use of fossil fuels and replace some of the petroleum-fueled energy on the grid with renewable energy. Only Honua Ola also takes GHG out of the atmosphere.
‘No’ to all 16
In the Tribune-Herald (Oct. 9), there was a full-page advertisement by the Hawaii County Council listing the 16 County Charter amendments to be voted on by the citizens on the Nov. 3 ballot.
Each one of the 16 amendments starts as follows: “Shall the charter … be amended … to provide … .” That is followed by a very brief description of the proposed amendment, but it does not contain the actual language of the proposed change?
So, we the people are asked to give the council a simple YES or NO to an amendment of which we have absolutely no idea what the final change looks like?
As a (very exaggerated) example, take a look at Proposal No. 4, where it is proposed that the Police Commission be authorized to discipline the police chief (in addition to hiring and firing).
Of course, the voters have absolutely no idea what such discipline looks like. Could it be that the chief could be made to stand in the corner for 30 minutes after being caught in a promotion scandal?
I am not suggesting any such silly amendment would ever be promulgated, but on Nov. 3, we are being asked for a simple YES or NO, in a total vacuum.
The most appropriate vote appears to be NO to all 16 questions. Let us then vote on the proposed changed language in a future ballot.