Commentary – Former Mayor Harry Kim on House Bill 106

I have just been informed that HB106, calling for the repeal of Act 97, will not be scheduled for a hearing in the Senate. The bill will die if it is not scheduled for hearing by Monday, March 18. If that happens, then Act 97 will govern the development of the geothermal industry in this state.

HB 106

It is so very difficult to understand or accept that despite all of the support and testimony for HB106 for the repeal of Act 97 by people of Maui, Hawaii Island, Kauai and Oahu, which includes the County governments of Maui and Hawaii Island, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Sierra Club, Hawaii’s Thousand Friends, and many others, HB106 may not be given even an opportunity to be heard by the Senate.

It has not been an easy task to convince people that this was not about a position for or against the development of the geothermal industry. This was about doing it right, with the concerns of the people and the environment being addressed.

What does Act 97 do?

  • Allows geothermal exploration and development in all state land use categories: conservation, urban, rural, and agricultural (including ceded lands).
  • Eliminates entirely the County government’s approval and review process over geothermal development. With this goes the entire permit process and people’s opportunity for meaningful input.
  • Allows geothermal power plants to be built anywhere in urban, agricultural and rural districts without a County land use permit or public hearing because it is a right by law of Act 97.
  • Allows geothermal exploratory and development drilling in all state land use categories of conservation, urban, rural, and agricultural land with only a BLNR permit.
  • Reinforces the elimination of the people’s right to a contested case hearing.
  • States that geothermal exploration and development are permissible in all conservation, agricultural, urban and rural zones; i.e. anywhere in the state.

It is noted that the sponsors of Act 97 originally attempted to exempt exploratory geothermal wells from Ch. 343, the state EIS/EA laws. Due to opposition, they sought an exemption from EIS/EA requirements from the Office of Environmental Quality Control in May 2012, but fortunately, this effort failed. Imagine what it would be today if this had passed. Imagine the only notification that the public would have of geothermal drilling would be waking up in the morning and seeing the drilling rig! It is of concern that the supporters of Act 97 may try again.

I consider Act 97 a huge threat to Hawaii’s people and its environment. I believe that Act 97 shows a blatant disregard for the community, the environment, local units of government, and the County and State laws of zoning and land use.

It is difficult to understand or accept that sweeping land use changes were made without any care or mention of people, of land, or of lifestyle. I ask for understanding that the sadness expressed here is not just about the development of the geothermal industry. This is about the relationship between the people and their government. This is about a hope for a government that is an extension of the people, and not for special interests or financial gain. It is asked that you become aware that if Act 97 is not repealed, it will open the way to an open door policy for the development of the geothermal industry including “enhanced geothermal systems (EGS)” or “fracking,” which is now being explored by the State of Hawaii. As stated, this is not about being for or against geothermal, this is about doing it right, with the greatest care of impact on environment and people.

At this time, efforts are being made to see how we can ensure that a hearing will be scheduled on HB106 in spite of efforts to kill the bill. It is probable, due to the lateness of this writing, that the deadline of March 18 will have passed. If you are reading this before the deadline of March 18, I ask that you contact the following Senators and ask that HB106 be scheduled for hearing: Senator Malama Solomon, Chair of the Committee on Water and Land (808-586-7335); Senator Mike Gabbard, Chair of the Committee on Energy and Environment (808-586-6830), and Senator Will Espero, Chair of the Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental and Military Affairs (808-586-6360).

HB106, that calls for the repeal of Act 97, needs your help. This Act is a blatant disrespect of people, local units of government, of lifestyle, and impact on environment. It is hoped that our government will be of fairness and do what is right by law and a sense of what is right.

Harry Kim

 

Commentary and Timeline of the PLDC Decision by Big Island Resident Glenn Shiroma

I received the following from Big Island Resident Glenn Shiroma on the PLDC decisions that have been going on:

Please be advised of the following:

(1)  Governor Abercrombie failed to approve PLDC public hearing for Tuesday, November 13, 2012.  See attached Public Hearing Memo

(2) PLDC proposed Hawaii Administrative Rules Chapters 301 and 302 violated Administrative Directive 09-01 for rule-making.

a.  PLDC failed to comply with HRS Chapter 91-4.2 Ramseyer Format whereby [deleted] was not used.

http://hawaii.gov/lrb/research.html

b.  Chapter 301, pdf page 38, should stated Approval for Public Hearing with Deputy AG signature.

http://hawaii.gov/dlnr/pldc/rules/pldc-chapter-13-301-proposed-121002.pdf

c.  Chapter 302, pdf page 48, should state Approval for Public Hearing with Deputy AG Signature.

http://hawaii.gov/dlnr/pldc/rules/pldc-chapter-13-302-proposed-121002.pdf

(3)  On Tuesday, November 13, 2012, many testifiers complained about hold the public hearing ONLY on Oahu.  On Thursday, November 5, 2012, Lloyd Haraguchi stated PLDC is short of funds to go out statewide.  See attached Public Hearing Notice for Nov 13

(4)  SLH 2012, Act 241 signed on July 6, 2012

Small Business Regulatory Review Board; Administrative Rules; Board Membership
Description: Authorizes the small business regulatory review board with good cause to request a written response from the agency explaining the rationale used to deny the public concerns; establishes requirements to be included in the written response; reduces the size of the board from eleven to nine members, with the director of business, economic development, and tourism, or its designated representative, to serve as an ex officio voting member of the board; and requires each agency to notify the board on an annual basis of any rules that should be amended or repealed to reflect statutory amendments or repeals. (CD1)

http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=SB&billnumber=2739

(5)  SLH 2012, Act 282 signed on July 6, 2012

PLDC; Stadium Facilities Special Fund
Description: Transfers development rights of certain lands under the division of boating and ocean recreation and land division to the public land development corporation. Exempts certain lands from the definition of public land under chapter 171, HRS, but requires legislative approval for the sale or gift of those lands. Creates the stadium facilities special fund into which shall be deposited a portion of the proceeds generated by the PLDC on Aloha stadium lands and facilities. Allows the PLDC to contract with state and county agencies for lease management services of PLDC-controlled land. Clarifies the definition of development rights. (SD1)

http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=HB&billnumber=2398

(6)  PLDC Hawaii Sunshine Law complaints:

a. Public Hearing held on July 25, 2012  (S INVES-P 13-3)

b. Public Hearing held on September 20, 2012 (S INVES-P 13-2)

c.  Public Hearing held on October 11, 2012 (S INVES-P 13-4)

(7)  OIP’s Interpretation of HRS Chapter 91, §92-7 Notice:

(e) The board shall maintain a list of names and addresses of persons who request notification of meetings and shall mail a copy of the notice to such persons at their last recorded address no later than the time the agenda is filed under subsection (b). [L 1975, c 166, pt of §1; am L 1976, c 212, §2; am L 1984, c 271, §1; am L 1985, c 278, §4; am L 1995, c 13, §2; am L 2012, c 177, §2]

http://www.state.hi.us/oip/Sunshine%20Law%20Notice%20Quick%20Review.pdf

With all of the above being said..

(1)  The above are some of the  “talking points” that maybe heard on Carrol Cox Show, Sunday, November 21, 2012.

http://carrollcox.com/Show111812.htm

(2) Today, November 21, 2012, PLDC public hearing for November 28, 2012 agenda will be coming out.  The content of the public hearing agenda will demonstrate if  malfeasance  will be committed, AGAIN.  (Emphasis Added)

If there are any questions, please do not hesitate to inquire with the PLDC board members and/or those that are copied..

Glenn Shiroma  :-X
Big Island

Ironworkers, Laborers and Sierra Club endorse Gil Kahele for Hawaii State Senate District One

With 46 days before the August 11th primary election we are proud to announce that Senator Gil Kahele has received endorsements from the Ironworkers, Laborers Local 368 and the Sierra Club Hawaii Chapter . These three endorsements continue to carry momentum into our campaign and show continuing support from Hawaiiʻs working class as well as the most widely recognized environmental organization in the country.

The Ironworkers of Hawaii (Stabilization Fund) represents thousands of island workers who work on bridges, structural steel, ornamental architectural and miscellaneous metals and rebar.

The Laborers International Union of North America Local 368 represents 4,369 members throughout the State of Hawaii. Formed in December of 1954 the union represents members working in the construction, environmental remediation, maintenance, food service, clerical and health care occupations.

The Sierra Club is the largest and most influential grassroots organization in the country. Formed in 1892 the Sierra Club has a membership of 1.4 million people and advocates for safe and healthy communities, smart energy solutions to combat global warming and creates an enduring legacy for Americaʻs wild places. The Hawaii Chapter of the Sierra Club focuses on our beaches, oceans, watersheds, forests, clean and renewable energy and our native eco-systems. Sierra Club chapters exist on every island and the Hawaii Chapter is the Moku Loa Group.

To date, Senator Gil Kaheleʻs candidacy for State Senate District One has been endorsed by the ILWU, HSTA, UHPA, Ironworkers, Laborers and the Sierra Club.

“I am humbled and honored to accept the endorsement of the Ironworkers, Laborers and the Sierra Club. These endorsements reflect my strong support for Hawaiiʻs working class citizens as well as our precious environment. The economy is the #1 issue in this campaign and putting people back to work in East Hawaii is my top goal as a legislator. Growing up in the fishing village of Miloliʻi I know the value and respect for our precious environment, watersheds, oceans and marine ecosystems. The endorsement of the Sierra Club reflects my belief that we should be “stewards” of the ʻaina and therefore are responsible to take care of it, cherish it and preserve it for future generations. As a legislator I play a vital role in the success of these issues and if elected, I will continue the mission I started less than two years ago when I took office which remains the cornerstone of my campaign, making government work for the people”

Hauʻoli Ka Manaʻo,

Senator Gil Kahele

Congressional Candidate Marx Calls Out Hannemann for Missing Debates

Bob Marx, a small business owner in Hilo and candidate for Hawaiʻi’s Second Congressional District attended a debate on Maui sponsored by the Sierra Club and Akaku Cable.

“Actually living in the district has given me a perspective that my opponents simply don’t have.”

Fellow candidates Esther Kia’aina and Tulsi Gabbard were present, but Mufi Hannemann was again absent. This marks the second public forum that Hannemann has missed. During the debate, participants responded to questions ranging from their stance on the economic crisis affecting America to how they would best fill the position synonymous with former Second District congresswoman Patsy Mink.

Marx noted that “this race keeps getting painted as a two way race between Gabbard and [Hannemann]…but he doesn’t show up for debates, and she just tells people what they want to hear.” During the debate, Marx passionately responded to questions involving the state of the economy and the process of economic recovery. “We need to re-evaluate the way we manage our budgets,” Marx said. “First we need to cut waste, then we need to establish strict oversight to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Only then can we adopt incentive programs to spur growth.”

As a supporter of local farming and agriculture, Marx is an adamant supporter of providing small farms with low-interest loans and appropriate funds for disaster relief. Unlike Gabbard and Hannemann, Marx has been a thirty year resident of the second district. “Actually living in the district has given me a perspective that my opponents simply don’t have.”

Despite his candidates receiving endorsements and contributions from a myriad of groups, Marx responded: “It doesn’t matter who or what gives them money—I am running because I am sick of exactly the type of politics they are participating in. Will their endorsements and resources change the fact that they are beholden to the interests that provide them? [I] don’t think so.”

Marx will be attending the North Hawaiʻi Candidate Forum at Waimea School Thursday evening at 5pm, along with other candidates Rafael Del Castillo, Tulsi Gabbard, Mufi Hannemann, and Esther Kia’aina.

Groups ask Candidates to Pledge for Fair Elections

Organizations ask for Support for Public Funding Option for Elections

Media Release:

In a campaign season that is likely to set new boundaries for large amounts of private money flowing into election campaigns, a coalition of groups are calling on candidates to pledge their support for fair elections programs, like the pilot program currently running on the Big Island for county council elections.  A comprehensive public funding option, or fair elections, allows candidates to try to qualify for a competitive amount of public money for election campaigns, as an alternative option to raising private money.

While Hawaii has had a partial public funding program in place, paid for by a three dollar check off on state income tax forms, it has become increasingly obsolete as the cost of elections has continued to rise.  “Voters in the 1978 Constitutional Convention realized we didn’t want outside special interest money controlling our laws, so we created the partial public funding program at that time,” said Kory Payne, executive director for Voter Owned Hawaii.  “We need to upgrade this program to make it a viable option again, and we’re counting on candidates to pledge their support for that idea,” he added.

The groups have published which candidates have signed or not on Voter Owned Hawaii’s website.

In 2008, Voter Owned Hawaii and other groups pushed for the passage of a bill that created a pilot program on the Big Island that offers a full public funding option for candidates for county council elections.  Sixteen candidates filed “intents” to qualify, and eight candidates managed to gather the signatures and small contributions needed to get access to public funds.

Proponents of this program believe that separating money from politics is good for the public’s interest.  “It’s primarily because of outside influence on our laws that we burn imported fossil fuels to power over 90% of our energy and ship in over 85% of our food,” said Payne.  “By allowing taxpayers to step in and take back control of our election funding, fair elections can help us limit the influence of mainland corporations and move towards a more localized economy where a greater amount of the money stays in Hawaii,” he said.

According to Nikki Love, executive director for Common Cause, Hawaii, fair elections programs are good for democracy.  “If we want elected officials to be accountable to us, not big special interest donors, we need a comprehensive fair elections program.  The partial public funding mechanism just doesn’t work anymore,” said Love.

Advocates for fair elections also believe the environment will benefit if more candidates choose try to qualify for public funds for their campaigns. “Whenever campaign contributions influence how elected leaders vote on environmental policy, the environment usually loses.  Many of the largest campaign contributors in Hawai`i have a significant and negative impact on the environment, such as the utilities, oil companies, and developers,” said Brian Bell, a Sierra Club volunteer.

For more information, visit http://voterownedhawaii.org or call 457-8622.  Voter Owned Hawaii is a non partisan, non profit organization working to upgrade and modernize Hawaii’s obsolete partial public funding program.