Please Ask Gov Ige to Veto SB 2510 Today
SB 2510 was drafted to pave the way for expensive and dirty biofuel projects across the state like, but not limited to, Hu Honua on the Big Island. I'm asking you to call or write Governor Ige today and ask him to veto SB 2510.
Hu Honua a.k.a. Honua Ola, is a very expensive, dirty, carbon intensive power production project that has been protested for more than a decade. Recently the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) struck down Hu Honua's appeal to be allowed to sell power to the Big Island for excessively high rates. However, Hu Honua had Sen Dela Cruz working hard at crafting SB 2510 which ultimately gives the green light to Hu Honua to reduce our land's carbon capturing capacity and also drastically increases our island's carbon footprint. Only through excessive bullying tactics was Sen Dela Cruz able to get the House to pass this terrible legislation.
Specifically, the bill calls for every island to have 33% "firm renewable energy". The desire to have firm energy seems to come from a concerned place of wanting to ensure our power needs are met, however, there are alternatives to Hu Honua that we have time to implement like hydrogen. This bill is extremely short sighted. It guts the Governor's power with a provision that allows for the legislative branch to later increase the percentage of renewable energy without approval from the Governor.
Currently Puna Geothermal Project (PGV) is generating about 10% of our island's energy and it has a permit to generate up to about 13%. In theory, this bill will allow Hu Honua to produce the 20% needed to ensure 33% of Big Island's power is "firm". However, we have many healthy and truly renewable energy projects in the pipeline. As those project come online, if SB 2510 becomes law, Hu Honua and or other "firm" energy producers, will have to produce more power, which means more pollution and more carbon.
One major problem with Hu Honua's energy plant is that it has said openly that it won't pollute more than any fossil fuel or combustion based plant. The issue there is that every plant on Hawaii self reports to the EPA. In short the foxes are guarding the hen house. Even with self reporting, according to the EPA's website, there isn't a single fossil fuel power plant in Hawaii that has been in full compliance with the EPA for over a decade. Hu Honua has already polluted our ocean by ejecting an unknown amount of chemicals from their plant directly into the ocean. They cannot and should not be trusted to monitor themselves and since we can't afford to pay anyone to properly monitor them, we should not allow this project move forward.
The other major problem with Hu Honua's energy plant is that they will charge us, the consumers, much more for our power than we would pay for solar or wind energy. We are at a near breaking point. Our food costs more, our fuel costs more and now this carbon heavy energy plant wants us to pay more for our electric. This is exactly why the PUC struck down Hu Honua twice!
There is a complete myth that has been perpetuated here for too long that the eucalyptus Hu Honua plans to burn isn't good for anything. I have met multiple experts in milling and construction that have used these trees to build log homes, wood flooring, furniture, and building lumber. It is true that not every part of every tree can be used, but we could mulch to help create compost, ship the soft unusable parts to be used for paper and more. The usable parts of these trees should be used to help build homes to solve our housing crisis.
Net zero carbon is fiction. Global atmospheric carbon levels are measured here on Big Island on Mauna Loa. If we stay at the current levels, which is that best that Net Zero offers us, we will hit well over 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrialized temperatures before the end of the century. We need carbon negative solutions, which means we need near real carbon zero alternative power generation like, solar, wind and geothermal to be used to actively take carbon out of the air. Hu Honua wants you to believe that the carbon retained from one old growth tree can be offset by planting 2 or 3 seedlings. That's the equivalent of wanting you to believe that 2 or 3 infants can do the same amount of work as a grown adult in their prime.
It is for all these reasons and more that I am asking you, to please write Governor Ige today to ask him to please veto this potentially catastrophic bill that simultaneously limits the power of the Governor, forces residents to pay more for electricity, takes us away from our climate goals and pollutes our environment.