by Robin Kaye
Aloha, fellow Lanaians. We know youâ€™ve heard about David Murdockâ€™s plan to place 100 – 200 wind turbines out at the north end of LÄnaâ€›i. Thereâ€™s a new organization on LÄnaâ€›i — Friends of LÄnaâ€›i — dedicated to giving voice to the many Lanaians who strongly oppose this effort to make LÄnaâ€›i into an industrial wind power plant for Oahâ€™u. This project would take over fully one-quarter of LÄnaâ€›i (22,000 of its 89,000 acres), with each of those turbines being as tall as Hawaiiâ€™s tallest building — the First Hawaiian Bank building in Oahu. Imagine driving down to Polihua during the day and weaving your way through fields of these giant turbines. Imagine camping overnight at Awalua, watching the flashing red aviation warning lights blink on and off all night, or hunting in that area, listening to the continuous whomp whump whump of the whirling blades while searching for some very skittish game.
Some might say — as has the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT), Hawaiian Electric (HECO) and other power holders — this is a small price to pay for getting Hawaii off of its dependence on foreign oil; that LÄnaâ€›i should just be quiet and basically â€œtake one for the team.â€ Friends of LÄnaâ€›i is an active advocate for renewable energy, but for this particular industrial wind power plant, we strongly urge you to object, loudly, frequently and to many — and as often — as you can. And hereâ€™s why:
- It is NOT an employment generator. The short term construction jobs will primarily require highly skilled technicians, capable of working 250-300 feet in the air on a high-tech wind turbine. As for permanent jobs — perhaps 15 – 20, again requiring a highly skilled level of technical capacity. [did you know that all six â€œpermanent jobsâ€ at LÄnaâ€›iâ€™s solar farm are filled by sheep?]
- It is of NO value in helping LÄnaâ€›i become energy sustainable, since none of the power stays on our island.
- It has the potential of destroying significant cultural resources, including heaius, burial sites and other Native Hawaiian places.
- It would be built right smack in the middle of the documented flight paths for the endangered Uâ€™au (Hawaiian Petrels.)
- It would require enormous foundations, each 60 feet in diameter and 10 feet deep, filled with over 1,000 cubic yards of concrete. Where will all that dug-out soil go when it rains there (or floods, as it did on New Years, 2005.)
- It provides NO economic benefits to LÄnaâ€›i. While you may hear the Company and HECO toss around the words â€œcommunity benefitsâ€ (and â€œlevelized ratesâ€), none — NONE — have even been suggested by any of the folks who will reap all the profits. Murdock alone could bring in over $250 Million EVERY YEAR from the sale of the wind in the Kaâ€™a Ahupuaâ€™a to HECO. And we all know that as the owner of the privately-held C&C, he is under no obligation whatsoever to keep even one penny of that revenue on LÄnaâ€›i.
Friends of LÄnaâ€›i thinks of this Oahuâ€™s proposed industrial wind power plant on LÄnaâ€›i as an shining example of the worst of â€œGreen Greed.â€
You may also have heard about the Companyâ€™s recent threats of intimidation to those who speak out. Our goal is and will remain to remind people that they CAN speak out, and that CCR should keep their promise: â€œ…the Company does not discriminate against, retaliate against, punish, threaten, penalize or otherwise restrain the right of any individual who engages in such activities or exercises such rights regarding Companyâ€™s development plans, operations and activities on Lana`i as they affect Lana`i residents and its natural resourcesâ€¦”
So please remember, and remind all your LÄnaâ€›i friends and family — You Can Say NO! www.friendsoflanai.org