Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023 |
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• On banning fossil fuels
• The time is now
• Keep cycling safe
On banning fossil fuels
Gov. Linda Lingle recently remarked that I was the sole legislator that killed the fossil fuel ban. I take full responsibility for not moving that legislative proposal forward as Chair of the House Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection but not for the reason she cited.
A simple ban on fossil fuel generation makes for an easy sound bite but does not equate to a practical implementation of state law. Details are very important. A ban in law would be inflexible and problematic if not carefully thought out. Throughout the public hearing process there was never a workable draft. The language that was discussed was poorly written and none of the various reiterations, including my own, addressed various concerns. As the legislature neared critical deadlines, the discussion had to end in order for the rest of the bill, which contained other important clean energy initiatives, to move forward.
Further, a fossil fuel ban gives the impression that we can meet all our energy needs through renewable energy sources, however, in 2030 it is projected that a substantial amount of Hawai‘i’s electrical generation will still rely on fossil fuels. I strongly believe that all of Hawai‘i’s future energy options should not be shut off prematurely without a full understanding of cost, reliability and carbon footprint impacts.
Hawai‘i’s clean energy future is a transition of moving away from our dependency on fossil fuels by incorporating energy efficiency and renewable energy. It will not happen overnight and will require that we make the right investments in various technologies at the most opportune time to minimize risk and costs. Wind and solar are intermittent sources of energy which will require some kind of storage technology which is not readily available. Currently, local production of biofuel crops is not available. Imported biofuels are more expensive and in some cases actually have a larger carbon footprint than some of the petroleum products from Hawai‘i’s refineries.
Right now, the emphasis of Hawai‘i’s clean energy future should be on maximizing energy efficiency, the low hanging fruit, to put off the decision and need to build new fossil fuel power plants for as long as possible, the integration of a renewable energy system into a modernized smart grid and establishing the right pricing mechanisms, including consideration of possible federal initiatives and carbon taxes. Bills (including HB1271, HB1464 and SB1202) being voted on by the Legislature this week address this strategy. It is too simplistic to think that we can just draw a line in the sand banning fossil fuels without factoring cost and reliability issues and not anticipate inadvertent consequences.
I am sure the governor and I are equally passionate about moving Hawai‘i to a clean energy future, but we do need to be realistic and pragmatic in crafting laws that will frame our clean energy opportunities long into the future.
State Rep. Hermina Morita, D-14th District
The time is now
On April 28, the county Planning Commission voted to extend the existing permits for the Coco Palms Resort an additional three years.
The Planning Commission’s process was complicated and confusing. The outcome is not what we had hoped.
Although the Friends of Coco Palms is disappointed by this decision, our group is energized by the overwhelming public response we have received before and since the Planning Commission decision. Thousands of community members have visited our Web site. Hundreds have completed the survey, raising their voices in opposition to the current plan for the property and in favor of a plan that pays tribute to the tradition of sacredness and care dating back hundreds of years.
We are receiving offers of help and donations.
Friends of Coco Palms thanks everyone who has gone out of their way to encourage and support us. We are continuing to move forward and are confident in our belief that the time for a Coco Palms future that reflects the community’s desires is now. We hope others will join us.
Jennifer Luck, The Friends of Coco Palms
Keep cycling safe
Mahalos to the state and county road crews who are doing a terrific maintenance job all over the island.
The clean, wider shoulders are much appreciated by this bicyclist and I’m sure by other users.
To the driver of the bus’ up small black truck that apparently aimed for me this afternoon on Kuhio Highway between Nukolii and the Hilton, are you amused by the idea that you almost killed me? Maybe you can talk to someone who, due to carelessness and maybe just maliciousness, has injured or killed another person and find out what they live with every day of their life. Perhaps something to think about the next time you get behind the wheel of your truck.
And, as our police chief is an avid bicycle rider, do you think that KPD’s officers might be more aware of what bicyclists — who have a perfect right on every road on Kaua‘i — contend with? They’re out there and I have no problem calling in a license plate number of a vehicle that I feel has endangered me.
Ann Leighton, Lihu‘e
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