Letters for Thursday, February 7, 2008

• Where are the savings for the rate payer?

• Hold some feet to the fire

• Aspirations for change

Where are the savings for the rate payer?

I really have to question the viability and economics of burning albizia trees for power. You would have to set up a full-scale logging operation with union labor, fuel, expensive skitters and trucks. It will eat up the trees in nothing flat, way faster than the trees can recycle. The logging operation will create so much mud and environmental problems. The mud will go right into the rivers and ruin the reefs, etc. Unless this plant will burn tires and garbage, I would be dead set against this endeavor. The only one that will come out of this venture smelling like a rose is the one selling the plant to the co-op and eventually the financial burden will fall on the rate payers. We need to burn garbage. The county, in eight years, has not dealt with this matter by finding a new dump site. So why not look into a waste-to-energy system? The Kekaha dump site is over six stories high. One real tsunami will make Kekaha look like the biggest garbage dump in the islands and deposit the rest of the trash in the ocean and on our beaches.

By the time the green-waste-to-power plant puts the power into the system, we will be paying just as much for wood energy as we are paying for oil energy. So where will the savings be to the rate payers?

It will be the KIUC turkey. If we burn the garbage and tires, we won’t need the large dump. We already have the trucks and machinery to transport the materials and we can hit two birds with one stone. This makes so much more sense than starting a forestry logging operation that will cost us, the rate payers, more than the oil-fired power plant.

KIUC is a utility with unlimited funds. When have you ever seen a utility roll back its rates to us because they made too much money. They just up the rates. The flim flam man has gotten to the KIUC board and they are nibbling at the baited hook. We have the system in place to collect garbage and get it to the garbage burning power plant. Why pay private people to plant a forest when we have plenty of garbage and tires to burn.

That’s my opinion.

Hans Hellriegel


Hold some feet to the fire

I have just learned that HB 2919 has followed SB 2526 attempting to abate a serious cruise ship air pollution situation that has caused many residents of Niumalu severe health problems as well as significant interference with the comfortable enjoyment of life and property. This situation is clearly in violation of state law, yet no help has been forthcoming from the administration and those charged with the protection of these Hawaiian citizens.

Thankfully, Sen. Gary Hooser and representatives Jimmy Tokioka and Mina Morita have listened to these citizens and are attempting to remedy this problem by legislative action when the proper compliance with existing laws would have rendered this legislation unnecessary.

Suffice it to say that the administrative methods have included environmental assessments that were contrary to law (and still are) as in the case leading to this cruise ship air pollution problem and keeping the affected residents from knowing what was going on by technically legal but practically prohibitive disclosures, akin to tiny print on your TV ads.

What amazes me is that whales, seals, turtles, monkeypod trees and many other members of our fauna and flora have groups, money and activists dedicated to their protection, yet humans do not. Perhaps they (falsely) believe that Hawaiians are paying taxes to have their government assume this role. Might there be a lawyer somewhere, active or retired, who is willing to step in and assist pro bono? I’ll donate my time and expertise as I am able.

Regrettably we also lack the last line of defense, the press. I have seen plenty of plain reporting of some trivial facts (even some of those were wrong), but no real digging to hold some feet to the fire.

Finally, I want to caution our friends on Maui to carefully look at their “Kahului Commercial Harbor 2030 Master Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Statement.” That document may be a master plan, but it is neither a legal environmental impact statement nor an environmental assessment.

Hartwin Weiss


Aspirations for change

Kaua‘i, Hawai‘i, and the United States of America are in desperate need of change. This is our opportunity to take advantage of what power we do have in this country as a people, and let the world know what we believe in. No longer will there be humiliation in patriotism, nor animosity toward ignorance in the White House. We must rejuvenate this country with pride and continue to fight for humanity, rather than muscle it. His (Barack Obama’s) aspirations, together with ours, are a “change that we can believe in.” Please vote on Feb. 19.

Waipuna Higuera-Trask



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