(BIVN) – Members of the Pepeʻekeo community are asking for a contested case hearing, as preparations at the Hū Honua Bioenergy facility near completion.
Jaerick Medeiros-Garcia of the Pepeʻekeo Shoreline Fishing Committee says they have made a request in writing and plan to follow it up with a verbal request at an upcoming hearing in Hilo.
Hū Honua is engaged in a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Application. The bioenergy company is seeking a permit to discharge storm water associated with industrial activities into state waters subject to special conditions. The bioenergy company is also applying for an Underground Injection Control Permit, as well as a Solid Waste Permit for the recycling of ash.
The State Department of Health will hold a public information meeting and public hearing on these applications in Hilo on Wednesday, November 14th at ʻImiloa Astronomy Center. The meeting begins at 10:00 a.m.
“We’re facing some bad things for our environment, for our people of our community, and the ocean,” said Garcia, speaking from outside the Hū Honua gates last week. “We want to know, how did this business here get this far without our community knowing anything about it?”
“This aquifer leaches out freshwater that’s important for the ecosystem, especially right here in the bay,” said area-resident Blake McNaughton. “They haven’t had to do an environmental impact statement so if those injections or the stormwater runoff does impact the environment, then they’re not going to be able to to tell because they haven’t done the pre-studies. And frankly, they’re lying about what they’re doing.”
“We’re parents raising our three small children just right up the road here,” said Kuʻulani Muise. “What is their quality of life gonna be, what is left to them after 30 years?”
“There’s a lot of people in our community that still uses the ocean as our resource, to put food on a table to feed their families,” Garcia said, looking over the ocean cliffs. “Their food to raise a family comes from this shoreline right here. My job as the chairman of the particular shoreline fishing committee is to make sure that this right here never gets taken away from our community.”
The local chapter of the Sierra Club is also requesting a contested case hearing. Other environmental and community groups are said to be lining up to request a hearing, as well.