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August 1998

September 1998

Paradise in Jeopardy? (Ruth Brantley)
President's Message (Grace Furukawa)
Voter Registration (Arlene Ellis)
Candidates in Focus
Candidate Forum (Arlene Ellis)
Testimony Before the Charter Commission
Con Con Committee (Jean Aoki)
Forum for Congressional Candidates
Voter Registrars
Violence Concurrence

Paradise in Jeopardy?

The future of Honolulu and the quality of life in Hawaii during the 21st century is threatened! A careful reading of the Hawaiian Electric Company's (HECO's) Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Kamoku-Pukele 138-kv Transmission Project, May 1998, raises serious concerns and unanswered questions when reviewed in the light of our National League's longestablished policies on natural resources, energy-efficient technology, the preservation of physical and biological integrity of the ecosystem, protection of public health and the environment, and the protection of unique scenic and historic areas.

The area in question extends from a substation behind the Iolani Court Plaza condominium, through a heavily populated area with schools, through the U.H. campus, through the Wa'ahila Conservation District and Wa'ahila State Park to a substation at the back of Palolo Valley adjacent to residences.

Despite the "slower load growth" and no need for 20 years, (HECO: Requirements Update Study, March 1998, p. 15), HECO proposes 11 different routes: all overhead, all underground, or overhead/ underground. They prefer underground until reaching Dole Street where 110-foot towers would support 138,000 volts of power through the conservation district and up Wa'ahila Ridge. Already, the Board of Water Supply has two unsightly storage tanks and an ugly road in Wa'ahila for residents and visitors to enjoy. Therefore, HECO states that tall towers/ wires, and adjacent maintenance road, and a wide swath of cleared land would not further damage an "already marred area" (DEIS, p. 4-12).

HECO estimates that the metal towers could withstand 100-mile-per-hour winds. Hurricane winds are recorded at 150-200 mph, therefore hurricanes would destroy our overhead lines.

With deregulation imminent and alternative energy sources available, HECO asks us to rush into this multimillion dollar indebtedness - meaning a rate increase for all users on Oahu to cover the projected costs, interest, taxes, and returns that must be paid for capital invested over the 50-year life of the project (p. 4-129). And whatever else they do, the users will pay all of the costs for an outdated 20th century technology which will irreparably damage our environment, our lifestyle, our tourist industry, our Hawaiian Culture, and threaten our health. Today this problem is island-wide and statewide (Honolulu Advertiser, 7-28-98, p. B-1).

The Federal deregulation of utility companies is overdue in Hawaii: California and many other states are deregulated. The U.S. Department of Energy is actively supporting research and encouraging the use of alternatives to the obsolete 20th century poles and wires. Why do we in Hawaii hear little or nothing about these developments?

Solar Shingles, doubling as a roof material and a power collector, are already used in Dallas, Atlanta, Sacramento, Scottsdale, AZ, Lansing, MI, and the University of Denver. Why not Honolulu?

Solar energy is getting a boost from President Clinton's "Million Solar Roof Initiative." The goal is one million photovoltaic and thermal solar energy systems on roofs across the nation by the year 2010. This initiative, led by the U.S. Dept. of Energy, "involves the building industry. Local governments, state agencies, the solar industry, electric utilities, and nongovernmental organizations." (Electronics Now, August, 1998 and The Honolulu Advertiser, July 5, 1998)

This initiative will bring solar power, independent of power lines, to private homes, schools (Kaimuki High School now has solar power and other schools are scheduled), libraries, and large and small businesses. By the year 2010, about 70,000 new high-technology jobs will be created to meet the new demand. One million solar roofs will reduce the amount of carbon dioxide not going into the air; equivalent to getting 850,000 cars off the road. (Electronics Now, August, 1998)

The available alternative energy technologies make the proposed transmission lines obsolete in the near future. Sixty-eight electric utilities, serving 40% of U.S. customers, are promoting alternate energy programs. Hawaii has the opportunity to join them as a leader in the field of 21st century technology!

Let's not miss this opportunity to improve our beautiful paradise for the health and enjoyment of future generations of residents and visitors.

Try to visualize the double rainbows, the glorious sunrises and sunsets, and the natural beauty of our city, county, and state without having to look through towers and poles with their wires strung everywhere you look. That day could be sooner than you think!

Your questions about the DEIS must reach HECO (P.O. Box 2750, zip 96840) and the Department of Land and Natural Resources (1151 Punchbowl St, 96813) before August 7, 1998. Please respond.

Ruth Brantley
July 29, 1998

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