HILO, Hawaii – On Monday, a three day journey to “Save Pohoiki” came to an end in Hilo.
The “March on HELCO” led these activists – who are in opposition to the expansion of the geothermal energy industry in Puna – to the doorstep of the Hawaii Electric Light Company headquarters. Organizers planned to deliver a petition to HELCO president Jay Ignacio, demanding the utility stop its contract for new geothermal development on the Island of Hawaii.
On Saturday, close to a hundred marchers hit the highway from Pahoa High School en route to Hilo. They spent nights camping at different sites along the way, like the Community of Christ land on Kino’ole and Puainako in Hilo on Sunday night. It was there that Paul Kuykendall sat down to talk with us on camera, in an interview session conducted under the light of the moon, on the eve of their arrival at HELCO.
March on HELCO – Hilo campsite, Sunday night
About 100 people were already outside HELCO when we arrived to film on Monday, waving signs and beating drums. Things were noisy, and at times tense. At the request of HELCO, police asked a group of drummers to move because the noise was disrupting business inside.
Soon, the marchers who left the campsite earlier that day joined the crowd, doubling size of the demonstration. As the organizers of the rally went inside to meet with the HELCO president, the din outside reached a fever pitch.
Finally, Jay Ignacio emerged. The HELCO president accepted the petition against the request for proposals for up to 50 more megawatts, and thanked the demonstrators before going back inside.
We spoke to Puna Pono Alliance leader Bob Petricci immediately afterwards. And then, as the crowd began to disperse, we went inside the HELCO building ourselves for an interview with Ignacio.