A message from the Friends of Lanai

by Robin Kaye

Aloha, fellow Lanaians. We know you’ve heard about David Murdock’s plan to place 100 – 200 wind turbines out at the north end of Lāna‛i. There’s a new organization on Lāna‛i — Friends of Lāna‛i — dedicated to giving voice to the many Lanaians who strongly oppose this effort to make Lāna‛i into an industrial wind power plant for Oah’u. This project would take over fully one-quarter of Lāna‛i (22,000 of its 89,000 acres), with each of those turbines being as tall as Hawaii’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 Lāna‛i should just be quiet and basically “take one for the team.” Friends of Lāna‛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 here’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 “permanent jobs” at Lāna‛i’s solar farm are filled by sheep?]
  • It is of NO value in helping Lāna‛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 U’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 Lāna‛i. While you may hear the Company and HECO toss around the words “community benefits” (and “levelized rates”), 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 Ka’a Ahupua’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 Lāna‛i.

Friends of Lāna‛i thinks of this Oahu’s proposed industrial wind power plant on Lāna‛i as an shining example of the worst of “Green Greed.”

You may also have heard about the Company’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: “…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 Company’s development plans, operations and activities on Lana`i as they affect Lana`i residents and its natural resources…”

So please remember, and remind all your Lāna‛i friends and family — You Can Say NO! www.friendsoflanai.org

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