(BIVN) – Supporters and opponents of Hū Honua – now Honua Ola, under construction in Pepeʻekeo – packed the Windward Planning Commission meeting in Hilo on Thursday, as the County took up three matters relating to the planned bioenergy facility.
The first matter was a request for a contested case hearing by Claudia Rohr, who sued the county for its handling of the permit for the bioenergy facility. Rohr’s request was deemed untimely and denied.
The second matter was on the agenda:
APPLICANT: HU HONUA BIOENERGY LLC (SMA 221)
Discussion and action on the Intermediate Court of Appeal’ s Order of Partial Remand filed January 22, 2018 of the Final Judgment of the Third Circuit Court’s Order filed on March 10, 2014, to the County of Hawaii Windward Planning Commission, for the narrow purpose of the Windward Planning Commission to address the impacts on the public shoreline with regard to repairing or replacing Outfall 001. Special Management Area Use Permit No. 221 was originally approved to allow the establishment of a coal storage area and a coal burning energy plant and related improvements. The approved amendment request allowed a change in fuel source from coal to biomass, to upgrade the existing facility and to construct support facilities and infrastructure at the former Pepe`ekeo Power Plant, Makahanaloa, South Hilo, Hawaii, TMK: (3) 2- 8- 8: 104 formerly 2- 8- 7: Portion of 53).
Honua Ola president Warren Lee, the former County director of Public Works, testified that the facility no longer needed to repair or replace Outfall 001, and instead planned to use an injection well to handle water discharge. The Outfall would still be in use, Lee said, but only to handle the rain water run-off that already exists, not the water processed by the facility.
The Windward Planning Commission decided no further review was needed.
Big Island Video News recorded the discussion on the first two matters (video above), which included lengthy public testimony, mostly from residents opposed to the project. Several testifiers waved signs outside before the meeting, criticizing the planned power plant over environmental concerns.
A third matter dealt with noise:
PETITIONER: HU HONUA BIOENERGY LLC (SMA 221)
Petition for a Declaratory Ruling on Condition No. 5 of Special Management Area Use Permit No. 221, which originally allowed the establishment of a coal storage area and a coal burning energy plant and related improvements, and which was amended to allow a change in fuel source from coal to biomass, to upgrade the existing facility and to construct support facilities and infrastructure. Condition No. 5 reads in part ” Sound levels shall follow Department of Health rules for residential areas ( 55 dBA daytime), HAR, Title 11, Chapter 46 (Community Noise Control), and noise at the site property boundary shall be limited to 55 dBA at all times. ” The property is located at the former Pepe`ekeo Power Plant, Makahanaloa, South Hilo, Hawaii, TMK: (3) 2- 8- 8: 104 formerly 2- 8- 7: Portion of 53).
According to the Hawaii-Tribune Herald, the commission “voted to clarify that the lower threshold doesn’t apply to construction but didn’t decide whether that lower limit covers emergencies or actions not considered part of normal operations.”