POSITION IN BRIEF
Action to promote energy conservation and research into alternate energy resources available in Hawaii, taking into consideration environmental effects, economic feasibility, and differing conditions on each island.
The League of Women Voters of Hawaii recommends the following as the most feasible alternatives to fossil fuels for the State of Hawaii: solid waste, biomass conversion, solar energy, wind energy, and hydroelectric power, These alternatives were selected in view of the present technological stage of development, energy demands that can be met, and economic feasibility. The applicability of these alternatives varies from island to island and the League stresses that local conditions must be considered.
The League further believes that research should be encouraged in all types of alternate energy sources with careful consideration of the impact on the environment. However, alternate energy sources adopted must maintain, not lower, established environmental standards.
Energy conservation and public education about the energy situation must be undertaken at all levels of government as well as by the private sector and the general public.
Consensus, June 1976
Energy became a major issue of the League, both nationally and locally, in 197475. In 1974 the national convention established an Energy Task Force to chart future League direction on energy issues. The task force work led to the 1975 national position supporting energy conservation as national policy. Study of energy sources followed in 1976, and the current national position was announced in March 1978. (National position is outlined in Impact on Issues).
Meanwhile, in Hawaii, two League members served on the governor's Conservation and Gas Rationing Committee and on the Alternate Energy Sources Task Force during 1974. In March 1975 the Hawaii County League of Women Voters plunged into an intensive study of energy sources and current consumption and conservation measures in Hawaii County, and reached a position in late May. That same month the state convention adopted energy as a study item. Hawaii County League’s study and study material were expanded to cover the state situation and state government action. The position reached in June 1976 emphasizes that alternate energy sources should be evaluated for suitability on an island-by-island basis.
League activities have focused on informing the public about the energy situation and energy alternatives, mostly in cooperation with other groups, the University of Hawaii and the State Energy Office. In November 1977 the League received a grant from the League of Women Voters Education Fund for a statewide energy education project. The grant was used for a variety of activities including cosponsorship with the University for six energy fairs throughout the state, purchase of a film, and printing of informational brochures.
In 1981 the League of Women Voters of Hawaii received a pass-through grant from the national League of Women Voters for an educational project on nuclear waste in the Pacific. This money, supplemented by additional funds raised locally, was used to produce a videotape, Slowly Dying Embers: Nuclear Waste in the Pacific, in cooperation with the East-West Center and the Health Physics Society. In addition, the League sponsored a forum on sub-seabed disposal of high level radioactive waste, which attracted an overflow crowd. A pamphlet, Nuclear Waste in the Pacific, was published as a companion to the National League’s Nuclear Waste Primer.
At the legislature, the League has monitored proposed energy legislation and testified on selected energy conservation and alternate energy development bills.
Facts and Issues: Energy in Hawaii. League of Women Voters of Hawaii, 1976
Nuclear Waste in the Pacific. League of Women Voters of Hawaii Education
Slowly Dying Embers: Nuclear Waste in the Pacific. Videotape. League of Women Voters of Hawaii Education Fund, 1982