By Robert Petricci on behalf of Puna Pono Alliance, testimony in support of SCR 123 / SR 86
Senator Mike Gabbard, Chair, ENE, Senator Russell E. Ruderman, Vice Chair, and committee members.
Thank you for the opportunity to present testimony on this very important issue.
Puna Pono Alliance strongly supports SCR123 and SR86.
Puna Hawaii is a farming community that has been identified for further geothermal development. Puna is a very seismically and volcanically active area, PPA is extremely concerned about the implications fracking – Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) has as it relates to induced seismicity (causing earthquakes) and the potential to pollute our ground water.
Before any hydraulic fracturing experiments are done in Hawaii, the legislature needs to look at the induced seismicity and water pollution that have occurred in other places where this technology has been allowed. Both on the mainland and around the world problems associated with hydraulic fracturing (fracking) have been well documented.
A working group should be formed that includes members of the environmental community to examine the dangers both seismically and environmentally that have been reported. The working group should consult with lawmakers and regulators that have banned this technology around the country and around the world. Why was this drilling technology banned? A project in California was abandoned and another closed down in Switzerland because of induced earthquakes and technical difficulties.
PPA supports SCR123 and SR86. On the mainland AltaRock Energy, the industry leader in geothermal hydraulic fracturing is already working with Ormat the parent company of Hawaii’s PGV plant. Ormay is also involved in a project on Maui. AltaRock Energy and Ormat have projects together attempting to hydraulically fracture wells at Ormat geothermal projects in Nevada. AltaRock has been to Hawaii already even after they were forced to abandoned a project in California. Dr Don Thomas from UH Manoa has been quoted publicly in the media as supporting hydraulic fracturing in Hawaii. Dr. Thomas is currently working under a 2 million dollar state grant to do geothermal exploration here on Oahu.
In Basel Switzerland a $60 million EGS power project was suspended in 2006 and finally shut down permanently in 2009 after a government study determined that earthquakes generated by the projects through induced seismicity caused about 9 million dollars in damage, and was likely to do millions of dollars in damage each year. These are things that need to be considered and taken seriously “before” fracking is allowed in Hawaii.
AltaRock Energy, started a EGS project in California financed with federal Department of Energy money at a site about 100 miles north of San Francisco. in 2009 Alta Rock informed federal officials that the government project would be abandoned after encountering crippling technical problems. AltaRock Energy’s project collapse came the day after the Swiss government had permanently shut down the EGS project in Basel Switzerland, because of the damaging earthquakes it produced in 2006 and 2007. Residents of the area near the AltaRock project in California were quoted in the media as being relieved the project was shut down.
In Germany as well there has been concern about the earthquakes possibly associated with hydraulic fracturing (EGS).
More conventional geothermal in Hawaii has already experienced its own setbacks and problems including blowouts and other accidents that have occurred regularly. Geothermal development in Puna has resulted in heated community opposition. The existing PGV plant still has serious problems having vented toxic gasses into the community again 2 weeks ago on March 13 of this year. We need to ban fracking in Hawaii and a working group should be formed to issue a report to the legislature on the dangers and problems associated with this technology. If it is not being planned for Hawaii as some claim there is no reason not to ban it, if it is, we need to look at the dangers this technology presents to our island home.
Please support SCR 123 and SR 86 to protect Hawaii from fracking. On the mainland there are huge issues surrounding this type of technology. Residents of Hawaii do not support fracking here
Thank you for your consideration.