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Wind power

A resolution urging the governor to seek alternatives to wind farms and the proposed undersea cable to carry power to Oʻahu passed unanimously in a joint hearing of the House Committees on Energy and Environmental Protection and Consumer Protection and Commerce on April 10.

Cindy McMillan of Pacific Resource Partnership (PRP) appeared and had also submitted written testimony in opposition to HR 150/HCR 189. “It only makes sense for our islands to be interconnected to strengthen and improve our electricity grids,” she wrote.

Supporters of the resolution, many of whom had flown from Lanai and Molokai to testify, said that islands which consume more power, such as Oahu, are better equipped to generate it themselves. “Island-specific solutions seem like common sense, especially to meet the goal of energy independence,” said a representative of Friends of Lanai.

Joann Tool of I Aloha Molokai said that many islanders have been working to conserve energy for years and shouldn’t have to bear the burden of other islands’ consumption. Land use, she said, goes beyond energy provision for residents who rely on hunting and fishing for sustenance. “If you take the water away by putting a cable or take the land away by putting windmills, you are taking food out of people’s mouths,” Tool said.

Wind turbines and the cable would be “far from our sight, but in their backyard,” Bob Loy of the Outdoor Circle reminded Oahu residents. “There is too much potential damage to allow the undersea cable to continue without further investigation.”

Rep. Richard Fale said the Legislature must attempt to be “more cautious and preventive,” rather than rush through decisions that affect all the islands. After deliberating with committee members, Rep. Chris Lee said the resolution would add the directive that local communities should be more involved in the decisionmaking process “from day one.” The goal, said Rep. Angus McKelvey, is to “have the communities be the innovators for the policy for their area.”