VIDEO: Occupy HELCO, Pele Defense Fund re-emerges

VIDEO: Occupy HELCO, Pele Defense Fund re-emerges
Big Island Video News

Anti-geothermal an element to the larger Occupy corporation demonstration

Video by David Corrigan, voice of Stephanie Salazar

HILO, Hawaii: The Pele Defense Fund has made a return to oppose the latest push for geothermal power on Hawaii Island.

Members of the organization were present outside the HELCO building in Downtown Hilo on Wednesday, in the pouring rain, protesting the company along with participants in the Occupy Hilo movement. Those representing the Pele Defense Fund also waved signs against the use of geothermal as an energy resource.

The organization led the opposition to geothermal in the 1980s and 1990s. However, the group has been quiet lately, as the most recent push for geothermal power has been gaining momentum on Hawaii Island. State documents have even listed the former 501(c)(3) entity as defunct.

Meanwhile, the Geothermal Working Group, chaired by Hawaiians Richard Ha and Wallace Ishibashi, recently submitted its final report on the resource to the state legislature. The report recommended the expanded use geothermal in order to power all of Hawaii Island, and also the much of the state.

Now, the Pele Defense Fund appears to have suddenly become re-energized.

But with so many former supporters of the Pele Defense Fund now openly advocating for geothermal energy, will the organization be what it once was?

The message from these demonstrators outside HELCO on Wednesday was far from unified. Anti-geothermal signs in one area… but PRO-geothermal signs right beside. The over-arching theme seemed to be in protest of the giant Hawaii Electric Light Company, a part of the mammoth Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc.

These folks wearing masks said it was a part of a larger, coordinated Occupy demonstration around the country, against corporations.

The Pele Defense Fund concerns are more locally focused.

Perhaps thats why the group is not only taking on geothermal. It has also provided some guidance to local hunters recently, as they ramp up for a battle with the Department of Land and Natural resources over the fencing of the Puu Makaala Natural Area Reserve.


  • Charles Andree

    This is a excellent. All Hawaiians should be happy about this. Madame Pali is offering a gift to all of us whom live on the Big Island. It is a natural energy source. What I object to is the mis-use of this power source, Madame Pali’s gift, by corporations for making money. Madame Pali is offering this part of herself for the people to make use of not industry to make financial gain.

  • http://www.donnagrabow.com Raelian Donna Grabow

    My sign in the protest said, “YES TO GEOTHERMAL”
    The natural steam from the earth is clean, free energy.
    No more need to be dependent on imported dirty petroleum fuels shipped to the BIg Island.
    We need to think ahead; if the ships stopped coming tomorrow, we could still have electricity, thanks to the natural, reusable heat of Pele.
    Iceland and other countries harvest geothermal energy, and are self-sustaining.

  • Raelian Donna Grabow

    “Kenya, Iceland, Mexico and countries in South America; Chile, Colombia and Peru — will see high rates of growth in geothermal power development, according to NRG’s research. Activity in the geothermal power sector is also gaining steam in Western Australia and New Zealand, as well as in Japan, the Philippines and Indonesia.
    It’s a proven, source of clean, reliable baseload power.
    Boise, Idaho; Reno, Nevada; Reykjavik, Iceland; the UAE’s Masdar City; and Perth, Australia stand out when it comes to tapping into and harnessing earth’s geothermal resources.”

  • http://bambovillagehawaii.org Leimana Pelton

    What research was done by the “State” of Hawaii before they sponsored the first exploratory well right next to a subdivision in Puna? What monitoring of emmissons was done from that well before Pele Defense, BIRAG, and RAN stepped in protesting that no EIS was ever done. When will government and BIG BUCKS begin to take responsibility for simply ignoring citizens rights to make a profit? Geothermal experts in New Zealand who have the most experience of this kind have stated that Hawaii has no business proceeding with this due to the fact that our resource is loaded with dangerous gases and seismic problems that will ultimately result in failure and worse. The US government hides technology that would provide everyone with cheap energy. Why? Money, and control.

  • Thomas

    The current plant sent me to the hospital when the well blew out. You know the one they had to park two D9 bull dozers on top of to try and keep the well head from shooting out of the ground. Did you know they had lava come right up one of the wells out there and that they didn’t tell anyone. We only found out a long time later when some one found some papers that talked about it. They lied then and they are lying now. We couldn’t trust them then and we can’t trust them now.

    If its so good why is it being done so secretly? I live here and have not heard about a single community meeting where we the people who will have this in the middle of our neighborhood were told anything about this. We have not been allowed to participate at all. I have a lot of questions being that this next to my home, I want to know if an EIS was done, if I can have a contested case. I want to know what the process is to remove my property from the geothermal sub zone. All you supporting this why you no talk to us that live here? All you care about is your lights and the money, you do not care who gets hurt as long as you get your geothermal.

    Shame on all those supporting doing this to my family and neighbors. At least have the courage to come out here and tell us to our faces that you are going to destroy our community. I have lived with the current plant for many years I have had to evacuate my house many times. They lie about the leaks and when you ask for information on a leak we can smell they tell you to call back in a couple of weeks. This is not right we need to be heard first, but they already made their deals. Shame on those that act like that and support them when they do these things.

  • Thomas

    Raelian Donna Grabow

    You should learn more about what you say…..Your just a parrot being used by the 1%…..You know nothing, take a better look at Iceland……

    “However, as comparatively cleaner for the environment geothermal power is not without its problems. One of these is the main elephant in the room: geothermal energy is not a renewable energy source. … Although this point was seldom, if ever, brought up in any previous discussion about geothermal power in Iceland, more recent events have shown that geothermal energy is not just non-renewable; it can even pollute.”



    “Upon closer inspection it appears that the country’s largest multi-utility geothermal energy company, which claims to operate “the largest and most sophisticated district heating system in the world,” has only driven the nation into deeper water.”


  • Thomas

    Raelian Donna Grabow

    More than 1/3 of Hawai`i residential energy use heats water.

    Source: Hawaii Energy

    We can reduce residential use by a third just by installing solar water heater, we could reduce residential use another third with conservation techniques, and we could get the last third from solar electric panels. That means we could completely supply all our homes with power while reducing what we use by two thirds with out building any new power plants, but HEI would lose money. The state, the county, OHA, and the developers would not get rich. That is what this is about and it’s why its being done in secret. Geothermal can not meet the smell test. It can not stand the light of day so it is being done behind close doors excluding the public. They are going to destroy Puna for money not to get off oil. We can show you how to do that right now. No one wants to even allow us to show them how. Those talking about supporting geothermal here really know very little about it, they are simply repeating what the corporations, the 1% have told them. If you are going to support destroying my family home and my community at least take the time to understand what you are talking about. Clearly you know nothing about this.

    More than 1/3 of Hawai`i residential energy use heats water.

    Source: Hawaii Energy


  • BabaPuna

    Since moving here to Puna in ’99, I have been repeatedly told that the first geothermal “test well” was conducted in 1971, within 100 yards or so from the current location of Pu’u O’o vent. I dunno if this is true. Some say it took approximately 12 years for the damage and destruction to occur, and Pu’u O’o has been flowing steadily ever since(1983). Occasioanlly, I hear and read of blowout incidents and accidents…and how the production has never been what was projected, and is actually a small fraction.
    I live in Kaimu, so we deal the threat of Pu’u O’o regularly…and the vog…etc. Because I live East of the vent, most of the time due to the steady trade winds, the vog(nasty gasses/pollution) is blown away from lower Puna….but EVERYONE gets emissions from geothermal in Kapoho, because it sits on farthest most eastern point in all of islands.
    Most of the time, the bulk of nasty pollution from Pu’u O’o goes to Kona side, Maui, Oahu, etc.
    This is not a “clean” energy producing technology.
    Pele’s fire is not something to play or toy with…nor experiment with around a populace.


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