Video by David Corrigan, Voice of Stephanie Salazar
PAHOA, Hawaii: Another Hawaii County Council public hearing was held in Puna on Friday evening. It was the second hearing relating to geothermal energy held in Pahoa this year. This time, the subject was the practice of drilling new geothermal wells during the night-time hours; Bill 292, which would amend the county code in order to put a stop to it.
Six councilmembers heard from a crowd of concerned citizens, many of whom were deeply passionate about the situation.
The bill amends Chapter 14 of the code, which has to do with General Welfare. Residents living nearby the well drilling operation have complained of constant noise and tremors… a big impact on their daily lives.
The situation could be even more serious than it sounds, according to medical anthropologist Sydney Ross Singer.
Singer and his family shared information on Vibro-Acoustic Disease, a result of what they say could be the result of the constant Low Frequency Noise they believe the plant emits.
Singer’s testimoney was another reason for this crowd to oppose the night time drilling… Many were already upset with the administrative variance that changed the terms of the well drilling in the first place.
Some residents say they have been living with the noisy intrusion for far too long.
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The bill had near unanimous support from the public (See extended cut video, right). The only voice in opposition to bill 292 was Puna Geothermal Venture plant manager Mike Kaleikini.
When Bill 292 was first introduced, it was given a favorable recommendation by the entire council. However, in the time since then, PGV has raised enough of a warning to give councilmembers – and county lawyers – pause in passing the measure. PGV representatives warned that the county would be overreaching its authority, as it would conflict with its drilling permit, which has already been approved.
One community member gave a run down of the company’s attempts to jam the bill, from his perspective.
Bill 292 will be on the November 9th Hawaii County Council agenda, under the “Order of the Day” for its second and final reading.