(BIVN) – The latest Hu Honua Bioenergy appeal to the Hawaiʻi Supreme Court has been dismissed.
The bioenergy company recently appealed two Hawaiʻi Public Utilities Commission orders, resulting in a suspension of the PUC docket (2017-0122) and a delay of an evidentiary hearing that was set to begin on January 31. The PUC had denied a Hu Honua motion to continue the hearing.
The docket, which dates back to 2017, concerns an application for approval of a power purchase agreement between Hu Honua and the Hawaiian Electric Company for energy produced at the refurbished power plant in Pepeʻekeo.
The Life of the Land non-profit, opposing the power purchase agreement, filed a motion to dismiss the Hu Honua appeal. The Hawaiʻi Supreme Court granted the motion on Friday.
The high court dismissed the appeal for lack of appellate jurisdiction, noting that the PUC orders “are standard-issue preliminary orders.”
“An appeal taken from the denial of a motion to continue would be remarkable in any circumstance,” reads the Hawaiʻi Supreme Court order. “But this appeal is particularly outlandish because for months Hu Honua assented to and complied with the PUC’s procedural schedule.”
The court continued:
Hu Honua said nothing when, in June 2021, the PUC said it expected to schedule the evidentiary hearing for “the week of January 10, 20211 [sic].” And in December 2021, when the Consumer Advocate moved to push the evidentiary hearing from the week of January 10th to the week of January 24th, Hu Honua responded by saying it “has confirmed that all of its witnesses are available during the week of January 24, 2022 and, therefore, has no objection to the Consumer Advocate’s Motion for Enlargement of Time.” Then, for weeks after the PUC’s December 7, 2021 order (Order No. 38104), setting a virtual evidentiary hearing for the week of January 31, 2022,2 Hu Honua continued adhering to the PUC’s procedural schedule. It filed its prehearing statement of position and witness list, for instance, without voicing any objections to the hearing’s date or its virtual format. Only in early January 2022 did Hu Honua move to continue the evidentiary hearing. When it didn’t get its way, see Order No. 38169, Hu Honua decided to appeal the PUC’s denial of its scheduling motion to this court.
The court concluded its ruling by noting that until the PUC issues a final decision, “any appeal by Hu Honua (including this one) merely creates unnecessary delay.”