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Saturday, July 16, 2016
July 16, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:22 PM :: 3075 Views

State lawmakers to return Monday to discuss wasteful $25 million union deal

Rep Pat Saiki Endorses Keli’i Akina for OHA

Rally Protests Federal Takeover of NW Hawaiian Isles

HNN: …"Fifty percent of the fish that landed yesterday, which is 40,000 pounds, was caught from this area," said Nico Chaize, owner of Nico's Pier 38.

Wholesaler Mike Irish puts it a different way.

"Try to imagine that 10 percent, or five or six weeks of the year, the fish are in that territory where we can't get it, and that just happens to be Christmas."

Ahi sashimi is a tradition in Hawaii during the holidays, when demand surges.

Irish says his scenarios wouldn't just be bad for consumers, it would be bad for workers.

"It affects so many other people. The people in all the seafood counters in all the stores, the cutters, the drivers, the dynamics of this," he said.

The expansion would be covered under the Antiquities Act of 1906, which obligates federal agencies to preserve and manage certain public lands. Some opponents think the federal act is too heavy-handed on state autonomy.

"I don't want the federal government to come in and start dictating what we do with the ocean," said former Gov. George Ariyoshi. "We can take care of the ocean."

Office of Hawaiian Affairs Trustee Peter Apo added, "No vetting through Congress, no vetting through the state of Hawaii or our political bodies is just to me, insulting."….

read … Opponents say marine monument expansion would hurt fishing industry

Mina Morita Lawsuit Challenges Gorak Appointment

SA: …NextEra also said it wanted to make liquefied natural gas (LNG) a major interim source for electricity in the state, something Ige opposed. NextEra argued that LNG is cheaper and cleaner than what is currently burned in Hawaii’s power plants. Ige has said the money needed to build an LNG infrastructure would be better spent on renewable energy sources.

NextEra and HEI could challenge the PUC decision. The companies could file a motion with the PUC for reconsideration within 10 days of the order or file a motion to appeal the PUC decision with the Hawaii Supreme Court.

The PUC also said its decision does not prevent Hawaiian Electric “from seeking another partner, or from renewing discussions with NextEra.”

One issue that likely would be raised in an appeal is the change Ige made in the three-member PUC just weeks before the decision was announced. On June 29 Ige appointed Gorak to take the place of outgoing commissioner Michael Champley. Ige said Gorak’s views were more aligned with his own. State senators have questioned whether Ige had the authority to make that change without the approval of the state Senate.

Gorak abstained from voting in the case to blunt criticism of Ige’s move. The PUC said Gorak “fully supported” the decision to reject NextEra but didn’t want his participation in the decision to be a focus of attention.

State Attorney General Doug Chin said in a formal opinion Friday that the Hawaii Constitution authorized Ige to appoint Gorak.

Immediately after the PUC order was issued, former PUC Chairwoman Mina Morita filed a complaint with the First Circuit Court challenging the legality of Ige’s appointment of Gorak.

In addition to Ige, the local energy community was mostly cool to the sale. Environmental activists such as the Sierra Club, clean-energy advocates such as Blue Planet Foundation, local social investment firms such as Ulupono Initiative, representatives from solar-power companies and the state Office of Planning voiced concern or outright opposition.

They questioned whether NextEra would support more rooftop solar….

PBN: The quo warranto proceeding seeks to have the First Circuit Court compel Gorak to explain the legal right by which he holds Champley's seat.

read … Solar Lobby Wins

Auditor to review Maui county employee travel expenses

MN: The Maui County auditor will be reviewing county employee travel expenses after an investigation into government purchasing cards, known as pCards, revealed about $850,000 in travel spending from September 2014 to October 2015.

"It's quite a lot so that's why we want to take a look at it," Auditor Lance Taguchi said Friday….

A Honolulu TV news station last year uncovered a well-furnished commercial kitchen in the Wailuku Public Works Baseyard, which had been outfitted using a pCard. In November, the Maui Police Department completed its criminal investigation and turned over evidence to the prosecutor's office.

On Taguchi's pCard audit, he said a preliminary survey has been completed and his office currently is reviewing individual transactions. He could not give a date for when the audit would be completed.

The other self-initiated audit for this fiscal year focuses on the inventory of affordable housing. Taguchi said that the project was selected because housing is "such a major concern to the community."

read … Auditor to review county employee travel expenses

Slim turnout for public hearings on Young Brothers’ proposed rate hike

KHON: …No one came to testify at the Oahu, Kauai and Hilo hearings. One person came to the Kona session, four each to Lanai and Maui, and six on Molokai.

“That rate increase by Young Brothers sort of travels down the entire food chain,” said Del Won, PUC executive director. “In the commission’s deliberations, of course we understand that service costs money. We just have to try to strike that balance between service and what the impact would be on the cost.”

The PUC is expected to issue a decision around October….

read … Slim turnout

Hawaii Governor Signs Bio-Fuel Production Tax Credit

NLR: On July 6, 2016, Hawaii Governor David Ige signed SB 2652 Related to Taxation -- Locally Produced Renewable Energy. This bill establishes a five-year renewable fuels production tax credit. The tax credit will take effect in 2017 and will provide 20 cents per gallon of ethanol (or 76,000 British thermal units (Btu) of renewable fuel) with a cap of $3 million. The tax credit is open to companies producing at least 15 billion Btu of fuel from renewable feedstocks per year. Acceptable fuels include, but are not limited to, ethanol, hydrogen, biodiesel, biogas, renewable jet fuel, and other biofuels.

read … Tax credit

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