PICHTR withdraws permit application for CO2 test off Nawiliwili

Akule and ulua can breathe a little easier now that the Pacific International Center for High Technology Research has withdrawn its application and plans to experiment with carbon dioxide off Nawiliwili.

The project is reportedly being moved to waters off Norway.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9, was the agency responsible for reviewing and allowing the permit.

A letter from PICHTR announcing the cancellation of the permit requests for the program did not state why they why the organization was pulling out, said California-based EPA scientist Allan Ota, ocean dumping coordinator for the agency.

Ota said public opposition to having the project located in waters off Nawiliwili was probably a factor.

Ota said: “We evaluated the permit application a certain way that the public obviously had some issues with. We followed the process and this is an outcome. I think it’s indicating that the process works.”

The Kaua’i experiment would have allowed PICHTR to pump 5,000 gallons of compressed liquid carbon dioxide into waters about 3,000 feet down, using specially-designed hoses and nozzles.

The federal Department of Energy is funding part of the experiment as a research project to find ways to divert greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

Isaac Harp, president of The Coalition Against CO2 Dumping, said that the Coalition believes that international research groups hope to patent their equipment and profit from capturing and diverting CO2 into the ocean from industrial factories that may be in violation of air pollution regulations.

The experiment, originally proposed in 2000 off Kona’s Keahole Point on the Big Island, was abandoned after public outcry about whether it would be harmful to marine creatures. Kaua’i residents had similar concerns, which some expressed at a May 22 meeting held in Puhi.

“I hope the people can see there’s a power in their voice,” Harp said. “Now that people are more connected, and with the Internet, we can get things done the way we want to.”

Staff Writer Kendyce Manguchei can be reached at kmanguchei@pulitzer.net or 245-3681 (ext. 252).

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