The following is the opinion of Bill Sager and does not reflect the position of the Democratic Party of Hawaii.
Governor Abercrombie and our Legislative leaders have introduced eight bills designed to eliminate state and county projects from environmental review. Representative Thielen has an excellent article in Civil Beat that explains what is happening.
These bills are being fast tracked by the administration and by powerful legislators. If you agree that EIS review of government projects is essential to good project planning, track these bills and let your leaders know what you think at every opportunity.
Part of the reason for this attack on our environmental protections is to be enable the construct the undersea power transmission cable to Maui County and ultimately to the Big Island.
Hawaiian Electric Industries (HEI) and the Administration are pursuing the traditional vertical electric power model in which a central power plant generates power that is then distributed across an electric grid to the end user.
I believe the future will require a lateral power distribution model in which electric power is generated as close to the end user as possible, Right now, we have three power sources that can generate electric power locally and supply the electricity even Oahu needs from local, on island sources. Wave energy is providing significant power through out the world and specifically from Europeʻs North Sea. Hawaii has one of the best wave energy regimes in the world. Biogasification as a power source is a proven technology used world wide. Finally, geomagmatic heat sources can provide completely pollution free power plants that can produce up to 10 megawatts of electrical power per well and can be sighted where ever power is needed.
These alternate power sources, combined with wind and solar power, can provide even Oahu with all the power it needs. A high risk, multibillion dollar cable project to tap Big Island geothermal power to power Oahu is unnecessary. It will ultimately saddle Hawaii rate payers with a bill that means substantially higher electric bills far into the future.
Yes, we need to eliminate our dependence on petroleum to generate electricity, but an undersea power transmission cable to the Big Island is not the best way to do it. Lets, at least evaluate alternate ways to produce the power we need using local power sources before plunging ahead with the undersea cable.
While the power cable is just one example of projects the Governor wants to implement without environmental review it is the crowning example of badly planned government projects that can be pushed forward in the name of economic development. Tell the Governor that the State is not an omnipotent, all knowing, agent that can do do no wrong. He need to understand that citizen oversight is fundamental to our democracy.