A busy morning in Kahuku as crews tried to transport equipment for a controversial wind farm project. Kiai or protectors formed a human chain being zip tied together to prevent equipment from entering the site. Eventually, one by one, Honolulu police arrested the demonstrators. At the end, construction trucks made it into the site. Some kiai who were arrested say that’s not the end of their mission to protect what they believe in.
The reason why there’s so much pushback on the wind turbines from the community is that they have concerns that the additional turbines will have potential health effects like noise pollution and infrasound for residents nearby. They also say that the 568-foot structures are too close to Kahuku Elementary School and other neighborhood buildings.
“At the end of the day, all we’re thinking about is our families, what we’re protecting. Pretty much our keiki, our kids, our kupunas, what was here before us, what’s gonna be here after us,” Kiana Lei Phillip, who was arrested, said. “It’s not right what they’re trying to do. It’s hurting our families, our community. For me, it’s hurting my daughter. I have a two year old daughter. That’s why I’m here, to protect her from it.”
The arrests over the project started overnight in Kalaeloa, where construction equipment is stored. More than 20 people were arrested at that location.
One long-time Kahuku resident joined the movement since the beginning and has a message for AES, the developer of the wind farm.
“They should think about if it was their family living with the big wind turbines right behind their backyard. I feel like they should have more of a big heart and just take more of what we’re saying into consideration because all we can do is peacefully protest for now,” Jamaisha Farley, another person arrested, said.
One state lawmaker with “Keep North Shore Country” says their protest also comes as a legal fight.
“There’s a lot of questions about this project. I don’t think it’s ready to go. I think it needs to pause and we got to address the issues on the purchase agreement, protection of the bats and what they were doing with the dynamites.,” State Sen. Gil Riviere, said. “They have been burdened by the windmills that are already in existence. They have said time and again we don’t want anymore windmills.”
Until there’s an agreeable solution, kiai say they’ll be at the front lines protecting their future.
Over 100 police officers were on scene and at least 21 people were arrested outside of the Kahuku wind farm Friday morning. 15 women and 6 men.
There were an overwhelming amount of officers on bikes, motorcycles, in cars, trucks and paddy wagons that arrived just after 7 a.m. The wind turbines and equipment for the controversial Na Pua Makani wind farm also arrived at that time.
Protesters vowed to maintain kapu aloha or peace-non-violence – the same motto for protesters against the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) on Mauna Kea and development at Sherwood Forest in Waimanalo. Many were chanting, sitting and linking arms and hands.
Police used plastic zip ties to arrest them. Officers lifted them from the ground and placed them into paddy wagons. The women who were arrested asked for female officers and legal advisers, but it didn’t appear those requests were met.
Overnight, police also arrested 16 women and 6 men for disobedience to a police officer – after they attempted block the equipment from leaving the a-e-s facility in kalaeloa.
AES is the company planning to build the new wind farm. This community already has several wind turbines.
AES has approval and the permits to build 8 more that are 570 feet tall. They will be much closer to schools and homes than the others.
The community is concerned about the environmental and health impacts to the small North Shore community. AES says once built, turbines will power 16,000 homes on O’ahu and help the state reach its renewable energy goals.
Despite the opposition from this tight-knit community, the equipment and turbines from Kalaeloa were transported and have arrived in Kahuku.
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