Draft geothermal health and safety report expected by Saturday


A group formed to assess health and safety issues associated with geothermal energy will release a draft report of its findings later this week.

Peter Adler, hired by Hawaii County to guide the effort, said the report will be posted online no later than Saturday.

“It will include a set of background information, some findings and some recommendations” for both the county and state, Adler said.

While the recommendations were reached largely by consensus, group members will be allowed to attach their own comments to the report, Adler said.

The group, which held its first meeting in January, consists of a dozen Puna residents with various backgrounds, including medicine, engineering and community activism.

Adler said he initially was expecting the work to wrap up in three or four months.

“It spread out a little bit longer than we thought,” he said.

Along with various backgrounds, group members also offered different points of view regarding geothermal energy.

“I came with a very strong opinion,” said group member Rene Siracusa, who has been a critic of Puna Geothermal Venture, the state’s only geothermal power plant.

“But we all had to declare ahead of time if we were carrying any baggage and what that baggage was.”

Siracusa said the report will address air, soil and water monitoring, as well as emergency response.

Group member Alfred Dettweiler said he believes the report will be helpful, adding he wished it happened before geothermal energy started on the Big Island.

“We’re 25 years behind the curve at this point,” he said.

The group was formed at the request of Mayor Billy Kenoi in response to criticism of geothermal development in Puna.

About $50,000 was allocated toward the effort.

The draft report and other information will be posted at accord3.com/pg68.cfm.

Comments will be accepted on the website, Adler said.

He expects to have a final version completed by Sept. 1.

Email Tom Callis at tcallis@hawaiitribune-herald.com.