(BIVN) – The Hawaiʻi Supreme Court on Friday vacated the Public Utilities Commission’s approval of a power purchase agreement between Hū Honua Bioenergy, also known as Honua Ola, and the Hawaii Electric Light Company, and remanded the matter back to the PUC.
Coincidentally, residents and opponents of the project were meeting nearby in Pepeʻekeo when they heard about the court’s decision and order.
“This morning, they had a couple of trucks coming to Hū Honua to deliver logs,” Jaerick Medeiros-Garcia, one of the organizers of the meeting and a resident of Pepeʻekeo. “We wanted to just jump in front of ’em I tell ’em it’s not today. I don’t think the drivers have any clue that the Supreme Court had rule our way.”
The Hawaiʻi Supreme Court sided with the argument brought forward on appeal by Life of the Land, an environmental nonprofit organization, and ruled that the PUC must expressly consider the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in its decision-making, and that the commission “failed to do so in determining whether the costs associated with the Amended PPA were reasonable, and in approving the Amended PPA.”
“Mahalo, mahalo, mahalo Henry Curtis and your team,” Medeiros-Garcia said, thanking the executive director of Life of the Land. “Aloha, man, right on.”
“We really want [Hū Honua] to do an EIS,” or Environmental Impact Statement, Medeiros-Garcia said, “and having this happen the way it happened, maybe now PUC can help us out, since they did it wrong the first time. Maybe they can correct themselves and gain more public trust by doing the right thing and help us get these guys to do an EIS.”
Honua Ola Bioenergy President Warren Lee responded to the ruling on Friday, saying: “We are reviewing the 66-page Hawaiʻi State Supreme Court opinion issued today. The review will guide the next steps to be taken. Honua Ola Bioenergy is committed to seeing this renewable energy project to fruition.”