Testimony on Federal Energy EIS

Notes of my 3 minutes testimony, Sept. 14, 2012 at the Federal Environmental Impact Statement on Hawaii’s energy future held at Hilo High School.  I didn’t get to say everything I wanted, but I basically made the following 6 points, more or less.

1.  I’ve lived off the electric grid for the past 32 years in Puna on small scale solar power.  One of the things I’ve learned is that putting money into efficiency, rather than into constantly expanding power production, is always  money well spent.

2. I would urge that the Counties and State of Hawaii, and the electric utilities, declare a moratorium on the massive boondoggle wind and geothermal cable schemes and any further request for proposals on geothermal development until this EIS process is completed with a balanced look at all options for Hawaii’s energy future.

3.  The Counties and State should require bonding for the damage that can be done  from geothermal.  An early report of 20-25 years ago said that a major earthquake could shear off the geothermal wells causing uncontrolled venting and a permanent evacuation zone of 8 miles diameter of the wells. The property value of such a zone is well over a billion dollars.  Puna Geothermal Venture’s liability policy today is $25 million.  Guess who will get stuck holding the empty bag to bail out this toxic industry much like the toxic assets of the Wall St. big banks.  You got it.  Us the taxpayers and ratepayers.

4.  President and CEO of Hawaiian Electric Industries (HEI), Constance Lau’s annual compensation for 2011 was $5,296,975 according to Bloomberg Businessweek.  In effect, ratepayers are modern day contract workers, slave labor, for the obscene income of HEI executives.  It seems that the so called utility regulators are no different that the Wall St. Bank regulators. Hawaii Island ratepayers have the highest cost per kilowatt hour in the entire U.S. and the utility’s CEO is paid millions.  There is something very wrong with that picture.

5.  There have been news reports that the U.S. military wants to acquire hundreds of thousands of acres of Hawaii agricultural lands to grow biofuels for its warships and bombers.  Can you believe it? Feed the war machine and starve the people.  Talk about misplaced priorities.  As a farmer for 32 years, I say not one square inch of Hawaii Ag land  should go for military biofuel.  I say starve and dismantle the war machine and feed the people!

6.  Finally, as a non Kanaka Maoli, I want to make a moral appeal to other non Kanaka Maoli to take seriously, and provide more than lip service support and respect for Native Hawaiian religion.  We all know that In Hawaiian religion, Pele is a deity.  It is desecration, and shows no respect, to drill into Pele.  When people make films that insult other peoples religion or drill into Native peoples deities,  nothing good will come of it.  I say it’s time to show respect.  Geothermal should be pau!  Respect Pele and Hawaii’s Native people.

Jim Albertini