Friday, Sept. 29, 2023|
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Mr. Russell Ruderman’s letter to the editor regarding HB 1403 (Tribune-Herald, Feb. 20) omits several critical facts regarding the Puna Makai Alternate Road proposal and this legislation.
I agree Puna needs a bypass road for health and safety reasons, but utilizing Railroad Avenue is not the appropriate route for this proposed roadway.
The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands submitted testimony against this study unless Railroad was removed from the equation. Homesteaders from Panaewa to Keaukaha have felt put upon that dangerous industrial facilities have been placed in their neighborhoods.
Utilizing Railroad for this bypass road continues that abuse in their mind. There is no way this can be glossed over.
DHHL’s 2016 Panaewa Regional Plan has an alignment proposal they would be supportive of. Their proposal would have the PMAR head towards Kupulau Road, and ultimately connect with the Puainako Street Extension. I believe this is much more logical routing instead of putting more burden on homesteader lands.
The Hawaii Department of Transportation submitted testimony regarding HB 1403. They believe the PMAR is a county responsibility to construct, not the state. The state’s purview is primary arteries, not alternative routes, according to their testimony.
The DOT is also under a federal mandate to focus on system preservation/ safety projects and not add new capacity to their roadway system since 2016.
The Hawai’i Supreme Court called Honua Ola’s recent appeal “outlandish.” So is the Feb. 11 letter to the editor by Honua Ola President Warren Lee.
Honua Ola has to shut down for two weeks every year for maintenance. And every fifth year, it’s four weeks — per their 2017 Power Purchase Agreement with Hawaiian Electric. So why does Lee claim Honua Ola is “always on”?
Lee says batteries cannot be charged by solar power if it rains. But rain doesn’t stop power from wind and the ocean (wave, tidal and thermal). And you can store power by pumping water to reservoirs uphill — which only get fuller when it rains. In addition, battery design is constantly improving.
Lee minimizes the price of Honua Ola’s power. But the Public Utilities Commission’s consumer advocate called it “high.” And it could stay high for three decades, if Honua Ola gets the contract it wants. Something for your children to look forward to?
Is Honua Ola “renewable”? Chopping down forests, trucking logs for miles, and burning wood is about as nonrenewable as you can get. And Honua Ola squirms when you ask if they will ship in things to burn from off-island.
Over 30 community groups have raised concerns about Honua Ola. And the consumer advocate, after extensive research, concluded that Honua Ola did not merit approval.
I feel for Honua Ola employees who are worried about their jobs, and hope they find work with producers of truly renewable energy.
Martha “Cory” Harden
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