Geothermal Informational Community Sessions Begin Saturday in Pahoa

Media Release:

What: A community form and information session on geothermal development in Hawaii . The event will feature presentations from Native Hawaiians on community based models for geothermal development, cultural issues and the protection of cultural resources, OHA’s role in Wao Kele O Puna forest management, the revenue OHA receives from Geothermal development, and native Hawaiian/public ownership of geothermal ‘minerals’ as assets of the ceded land trust.

Who: Patricia Brandt, CEO of Innovations Development Group (IDG), a Hawaii-based corporation with geothermal projects on Maori Trust lands in New Zealand , will moderate the forum. Six native Hawaiian leaders will give presentations.

When: Saturday, April 9, 2011, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Where: Pahoa Community Center , 15-2710 Kauhale Road , Pahoa , HI 96778

Phone: 808.965.2704

Why: Geothermal energy in Hawaii has been controversial in the past. Come find out how this sustainable, domestic energy force can help fuel the Hawaiian islands in the future and discuss community-based development of geothermal resources.

Interview Opportunity: If you would like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with one of our participants, please call Ryan Matsumoto at 808.536.0434 or email Ryan at info@idghawaii.com

Hawaiian experts say that sustainable, domestic energy can fuel the Hawaiian Islands of the future, and replace more costly, dirty and dangerous alternatives like fossil fuels and nuclear energy.  But geothermal energy has a controversial past in Hawaii .  In the early 1990s a coalition of Native Hawaiians and environmentalists successfully closed down the Wao Kele O Puna geothermal development project, in part because the proposed site had historical and cultural significance for Hawaiians, and it was located in Hawaii ’s largest remaining lowland wet forest, home to native plants and wild life.

Now a group of Hawaiian organizations, corporations and noted individuals, including former opponents of the Wao Kele O Puna project like international human rights attorney Mililani Trask, have coordinated a public forum to discuss Community-Based Development of Geothermal Resources.

The Geothermal Informational Community Sessions begin Saturday April 9th in Pahoa. This session is for the Puna community and will feature six presenters, all Native Hawaiian sharing their personal perspectives on community based models for geothermal development, cultural issues and the protection of cultural resources, OHA’s role in Wao Kele O Puna forest management, the revenue OHA receives from Geothermal development, and native Hawaiian/public ownership of geothermal ‘minerals’ as assets of the ceded land trust.

Innovations Development Group (IDG), a Hawaii-based corporation with geothermal projects on Maori Trust lands in New Zealand is one of the participants.  IDG CEO Patricia Brandt says it is imperative that the Hawaiian and local community have a say in future geothermal development.  “Geothermal is a public resource.  The current business model of an outside company coming in, tapping our resources and then making us pay for the product we give them access to exploit is not the future we envision.  The people of the land need to be real partners in any geothermal development, and we have the expertise to make that happen.”

Hawaiians have long had a vision for geothermal.  Back in 1881 King David Kalakaua journeyed to New York to discuss a solution with Thomas Edison for pumping geothermal energy through interisland underground powerlines from the Big Island of Hawaii to Oahu to power Honolulu and Iolani Palace amongst other sites.

The community informational sessions are a critical step in planning for sustainable domestic energy in which the community has a role and a voice.  “The bottom line,” says Mililani Trask, “is that our community needs to be proactive and diligent in how we build out sustainable domestic resources like energy and food, and reclaim self-sufficiency for ourselves and our keiki.”

“As Hawaiians who are the owners of the resource,” adds Kuulei Kealoha, Trustee of the Kealoha Estate, “we need to be involved in geothermal development to ensure its development benefits the whole community.”

Community Informational Sessions:Saturday April 9, 2011, 10am-2pm Pahoa Community Center, 15-2710 Kauhale Road, Pahoa, HI 96778; 808.965.2704.

More to be added soon…

The Geothermal Informational Session panel will be moderated by IDG CEO Patricia Brandt.  Panelists include Mililani Trask, Esq. (International Human Rights Advocate), Ku’uleiohuokalani Kealoha Cooper (Kealoha Estate), Cy Bridges (Hawaiian Cultural Advisor), Bob Lindsey (OHA Trustee), and Kale Gumapac (CEO, Laulima Title Search & Guarantee).

The Hawaiian Geothermal Community Informational Sessions are sponsored by Kealoha Estate, Indigenous Consultants LLC, Innovations Development Group, Inc., Bob Lindsay, OHA Trustee—Hawaii Island, Kanaka Council Moku O Keawe, Laulima Title Search and Claims.

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