October 20, 2010 – Hilo, Hawaii
Video by David Corrigan | Voice of Stephanie Salazar
The contested case hearing involving Hu Honua Bioenergy and a group of intervenors was underway at the Hilo State Office Building on Tuesday.
The intervenors are seeking to block Hu Honua’s application to amend a use permit that would allow the company to convert the defunct Pepeekeo Power Plant into a working alternative energy facility.
During the hearing the intervenors presented evidence and documents supporting their claims that the proposed bioenergy plant will negatively impact their quality of life.
The old coal burning plant has been closed since 2004.
Supporters say the plant will create jobs and boost the island’s quest for energy independence.
Opponents of the project are concerned about air quality, noise pollution, and the use of Sugar Mill Road by hauling trucks.
The hearing is being conducted by Hilo attorney Robert Crudele. The testimony is expected to take about a week, and afterwards, Crudele will make a recommendation to the Windward Planning Commission.
The $70 million project is on a timeline to have all approvals in place by the end of 2010.