PAHOA, Hawaii: The Hawaii County Council held a special hearing on renewable energy development in Pahoa on Tuesday night – specifically, a hearing on geothermal development and expansion on Hawaii Island.
A huge crowd of hundreds packed the Pahoa High and Intermediate School Cafeteria… many were residents of Puna who object to growing the geothermal industry. Over 80 people signed up to testify, and emotions ran high.
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Tuesday’s hearing was billed as an opportunity for the community to participate in the ongoing discussion regarding geothermal development, here in the heart of Puna where the community is most impacted by the geothermal industry. Although it is called a clean, alternative energy by developers, testimony described a different picture.
The council was caught off guard a few weeks ago, when a room full of people packed the Hilo council room to denounce the latest push for the expansion of geothermal on the island, even though the council was not taking a vote on any geothermal-related legislation.
Tuesday night began with a presentation by the Pele Defense Fund, which has re-emerged as a voice in opposition to geothermal development, after years of dormancy.
Then it was on to public testimony. There were residents who were philosophically opposed to the geothermal industry, as well as those who have not had good experiences with the industry in their own backyard.
There were some present who spoke in favor of the alternative energy mostly those representing or otherwise connected to Innovations Development Group Hawaii, or IDG.
We will have much more from this meeting in the coming hours, including testimony for and against, as well as some of the informational presentations made at the start of the meeting. For now, we have a sample of the testimony in opposition to geothermal to the right. It will be joined by another few videos shortly.