Letters for Sunday, March 18, 2012

• High gas prices • To KIUC board • Koloa Camp inspections • Kaua‘i’s energy future

High gas prices

Tired of the high gas prices? Better brace yourself, as there’s more to come. Big Oil posted record profits in 2011 while exporting 115 million gallons of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel each day from U.S. refineries.

Why export? Either there is a surplus, or they are able to get higher prices elsewhere. U.S. oil exports now exceed imports.

Big Oil is not a benevolent society. Don’t expect them to increase U.S. gasoline supplies to the point it will lower pump prices. Their motives are purely profit-driven. They don’t mind taking as much as they possibly can from consumers’ pockets.

Yet when there’s talk of reducing or eliminating their huge tax benefits and loopholes, they squeal louder than pigs caught in a trap.

 

Leon Osowski, Kalaheo

To KIUC board

I have lived here almost my entire life, and I can assure you that Kaua‘i is a very special place. One of the qualities that makes Kaua‘i so special is the people. The people who live here love, respect and care for the land.

Many of those people have been writing to the paper, voicing their concerns at meetings, even starting online websites to educate people of the dangers of smart meters.

These people are quite fervently demonstrating to you that not only do they not want smart meters here in  Hawai‘i, these people do not want smart meters in their own homes. You shouldn’t need more reason than that.

Personally, I don’t want to come home at the end of a long day and have to worry about getting radiation, or feel the invasion of privacy as my household activities are broadcast out to who knows where, or have the price of my electricity increased during the hours of the day I need it most.

And regardless of whether smart meters are incredibly harmful to your health, or just a minuscule risk, really doesn’t matter to me. I already have enough to worry about just trying to stay healthy on a daily basis what with pollution, GMO, pesticides, chemtrails, flu season, secondhand smoke, trans fats, radiation, vog,  bad drivers — and thats on a good day.

Ever since I started my first job almost 10 years ago, I have had it hammered into my brain from every one of my employers that “the customer is always right,” right? It’s just good business.

So if your customer, your consumer, your co-op, is telling you, “We do not want smart meters,”  maybe you should listen.

Lyra Drouin, Kapa‘a

Koloa Camp inspections

On Wednesday, the County Council unanimously passed a resolution asking Grove Farm to seek a win-win with the Koloa Camp tenants. The state Senate had earlier passed a similar resolution 25-1.

On Thursday, Grove Farm responded by demanding that the tenants submit to a degrading in-house inspection on Tuesday.

If the tenants were to leave on April 8, as Grove Farm demands, then the inspection could wait the few days until the tenants were gone.

Grove Farm’s new demands for the inspections and its insistence on destroying Koloa Camp not only rejects the collective wisdom of our elected officials; it makes a mockery of Grove Farm’s own vision statement which says, “By remaining kama‘aina-focused, Grove Farm … is deeply committed to preserving the island’s cultural and historical linkages.”

John Patt, Koloa

Kaua‘i’s energy future

In a Dec. 9 letter, I urged that Kaua‘i be an example to the world by adopting a new renewable energy goal of 90 percent by 2020.  The right goal should be 100 percent by 2020 at the very latest.

Recently, the mayor of Hawai‘i County announced a 100 percent renewable energy goal by 2015.  Hawaiian Electric, Mau‘i Electric and Hawai‘i Electric Light Co. have committed to 100 percent renewable energy to help control the rising costs of electricity generated from foreign oil.  

Even conservative, less sunny Scotland has a 100 percent renewable energy goal by 2020.  

A 2005 engineering study prepared for KIUC showed that either solar or wind could each provide more than 100 percent of peak electrical energy demands, with hydropower readily supplying 50 percent.

 Yet KIUC’s vague strategic plan only states that 50 percent renewable power will be developed by 2023.  

KIUC has completely shelved wind power, citing concern for Newell’s shearwater without conducting a study of potential impacts and known mitigation measures.  Wind power has been successfully developed on Mau‘i without significant impacts to endangered birds.

KIUC’s continued mishandling of the smart meter issue and lack of transparency in general has compromised public trust and, unless resolved, will make it more difficult to move rapidly forward with renewable energy projects that will require community support.  Clearly, new leadership on KIUC’s board of directors is needed.  

There are strong, progressive candidates such as Karen Baldwin, Pat Gegen and Ken Stokes, who support renewable energy and will help create a more independent board that will lead rather than follow.  Read about all the board candidates and vote. This important opportunity to shape the direction of KIUC should not be missed.

Milt Clark, Princeville

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