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Letters to the editor: 7-17-17

July 16, 2017 - 9:19pm

Nothing renewable about Hu Honua plan

First they want to cut down trees in Pahala, Waiakea and Hamakua. Then they want to truck those big logs through Volcano, Puna and Hilo, to Pepeekeo — up to 72 round trips per day — and up to 60 miles per trip, on crumbling county roads. Then they want to burn the timber, and spew air pollution. Then they want to disperse the highly toxic ash over our soil. Finally, HELCO has said the energy produced will raise rates.

In the next few days, the PUC will decide whether to allow this incinerator to operate in Pepeekeo. We need to write the PUC and tell them “No to Hu Honua.”

The company, Hu Honua, claims that their operation is “renewable” and “carbon neutral.” They claim that replanted keiki trees will absorb the same amount of CO2 from the air that the company releases. This is false. That’s because the carbon emissions of the much older trees being burned are far greater than the keiki trees’ capacity to absorb carbon. So it’s a carbon-increase, not “carbon neutral.”

The company wants to harvest the young trees after eight years. Those young trees won’t provide a fraction of the BTU found in the older logs, so from an energy perspective, it’s just not practical.

But getting back to these claims of being “renewable” and “carbon neutral,” how can diesel-trucking 72 loads of logs for 60 miles, and then burning them 24/7/365 — which would spew carbon emissions non-stop into the atmosphere — possibly be called “renewable” or “carbon neutral?”

Hu Honua’s plan flagrantly disregards two Hawaii state bills and an agreement signed by all the mayors, including Mayor Kim, to support the goals of the Paris climate accord to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Hu Honua’s proponents claim that the only emissions will be “water vapor.” Another lie. Actually, Hu Honua filed an Application to Add Greenhouse Gas Emission Provisions with the State Department of Health. The application reveals that the incinerator proposes to release 288,920 tons of CO2, as well as 22 tons of methane, and 11 tons of nitrous oxide into the air annually.

Hu Honua fails to mention that their water consumption will be through the roof. The company has applied for permits to drill four cooling water wells that would produce a total of 33 million gallons of cooling water per day. This is an immoral abuse of water resources.

Together, we can — we must — stop this. The Public Utilities Commission needs to hear from you, from me, from everyone. Please write the PUC and indicate in the subject line “Comments re PUC Docket No. 2017-0122.”

Koohan Paik


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