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Wednesday, August 10, 2016
August 10, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:08 PM :: 3677 Views

Full Text: ERS Files Suit to Stop SB2077 ‘Catastrophe’

The Case for Stopping Rail Dead in its Tracks

TVR in a Ag Condo: Must Your Neighbors Approve?

Ige Appoints Nature Conservancy Employee to BLNR

Attorney: OHA Chair Secretly Supports Telescope

Rail: The Difference is Djou Won’t Raise Taxes

CB: …Djou is committed to building the route all the way to Ala Moana and even to the University of Hawaii Manoa, should funding become available.

The big difference for Djou, however, is that he will veto any extension of a surcharge on the general excise tax levied on Oahu taxpayers.

SA: Caldwell is heard saying, “To raise the money to pay and operate this system, we’re talking about raising property taxes in the 30 to 43 percent range.”

read … No New Taxes

OHA Candidates Trask And Akina Teaming Up

CB: … both candidates have also said they share a concern about transparency and accountability, and see these issues as key to reforming OHA’s leadership ….

… during their broadcast interview, Trask and Akina publicly appealed to non-Hawaiians to give them the additional votes necessary to oust Lindsey and Apoliona.

In the video interview, Trask said: “Unless we get the support of the non-Hawaiian voters, we are just not going to be able to clean up the situation at OHA … We need the other voters to join us to help clean it up.” ….

read … Teaming Up

GEMS: State Spends $2.1M to Provide $388K in Loans

PBN:   …The state Division of Consumer Advocacy said in public documents that it does not support the program in its current state.

It has a concern with the Hawaii Green Infrastructure Authority’s proposed modification of a definition of an eligible participant, which “does not appear to be consistent with the intent of the primary objective of GEMS funding.”

Jeff Ono, executive director of Consumer Advocacy, said the modification “could actually diminish the funds available for interested underserved customers if all commercial customers are deemed to be eligible in the commercial energy efficiency loan product.”

As of June 30, there have been 190 applications sent in to the authority, with 12 of those applications funded for a total of $385,453 in the consumer solar photovoltaic program, according to a quarterly report from the authority.

Since the launch of the program a few years ago, administration costs of the program total $1.7 million with $388,800 in loans doled out for a total of about $2.1 million in costs and loans.

The program’s fund now totals $144.6 million, according to the authority.

In the next quarter, the authority said it will be making further changes to improve the competitiveness of the program. This includes working to address the issue of ineligible properties, notably the exclusion of properties held in a trust, which makes up about half of the rejected applications to date….

read … Expensive GEMS

Anti-GMO Lawyer Goes to Work for Anti-Geothermal Punatics

HTH: …A class action lawsuit was filed last week against Puna Geothermal Venture over its gas release two years ago during Tropical Storm Iselle.

Six plaintiffs — George Douvris, Stephanie Douvris, Michael Hale, Cheryl Carocci, Hillary Wilt and Christina Bryan — filed the lawsuit Friday in Hilo Circuit Court on behalf of themselves and other lower Puna residents impacted by the release, that included venting of hydrogen sulfide, a toxic gas.

They are represented by Honolulu attorney Patrick Kyle Smith, who successfully sued DuPont Pioneer for the spread of red dust from test fields on Kauai, and Hilo attorneys Charles Heaukulani and Gary Zamber. Multiple attempts to reach them for comment were unsuccessful.

An estimated 67 pounds of hydrogen sulfide was vented Aug. 7, 2014, as Iselle began battering the Big Island. The plant was disconnected from the grid because of fallen trees, prompting it to shutdown and release steam.

read … Punatics

Sierra Club Lines its Pockets with Carbon Credits

IM: …Feeling guilty about flying to the mainland, and releasing a lot of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere? You can buy greenhouse gas offsets from companies.

Is an offset really an offset? …

Arcadia Power is one of a few companies which has stepped in, to market renewable energy credits to the masses (who are born every minute)….

Was the renewable energy produced required to meet renewable energy requirements in Nebraska?

Is the farmer selling the same one renewable energy credit to several different entities?

There are markets developing for Renewable Energy Credits (RECs), Green Tags, Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs), Renewable Electricity Certificates, and Tradable Renewable Certificates (TRCs).

In addition to marketers selling different products, there are other companies that are springing up to provide third-party verification.

Arcadia Power will collect money from you, use most of it to pay HECO, MECO or HELCO for the energy that you used, and spend the rest buying wind-based renewable energy credits.

They are a B Corporation, which is legally defined in Hawai`i, as a socially conscious corporation, an entity that exists somewhere between a non-profit and a for-profit entity.

Arcadia Power was founded in 2014. Sierra Club has reviewed the Arcadia Power concept and last year the two entities decided to enter into a partnership. The League of Conservation Voters has also entered into a partnership with Arcadia Power….

Arcadia Power CEO and co-founder, Kiran Bhatraju was interviewed by TechDay.

“We're the first company to offer anyone in the country access to the same renewable energy markets that Google, Apple, and Whole Foods use to buy clean, pollution-free electricity. And we're the first to do it all through the customer's monthly utility bill. For too long, only large corporations and institutions had access to utility-scale wind energy and Arcadia Power has made the purchase of renewable energy simple and easy for anyone that lives in an apt and can't access rooftop solar panels.”

One can buy RECs on the spot market or enter into long-term contracts.

Members of the Rosebud Sioux Indian Tribe located in the Dakotas came to Hawai`i a decade ago to talk about how they financed a wind facility by pre-selling long-term RECs, and thus were able to finance an energy source for their casino.

One drawback of RECs is the inability to know the source of the REC. If could be a new wind farm in the Mohave Desert, which does produce renewable energy, but which also urbanized a desert ecosystem that had rare and endangered species….

Although Hawaii Renewable Energy Alliance has sought to change policy, currently the State Public Utilities Commission does not recognize RECs. (Hint, hint, hint….)

read … Sucker Bait for True Believers in Gore

Judge throws out charges from state's largest gambling case (Again)

HNN: …Judge Rom Trader issued a sharp rebuke to prosecutors over their handling of the case before dismissing the charges with prejudice Tuesday. The dismissal with prejudice means the owners cannot be indicted a third time, though that ruling can be appealed.

"The state's had two opportunities and through their own failures, simply has not gotten it right," Trader said. "A third opportunity would not be fair for these individual defendants."

The ruling is a significant blow to prosecutors, who had been publicly criticized for their handling of the case the first time around….

Attorney Keith Kiuchi was emotional after the ruling. "This was a wrong that needed to be righted," he said.

Outside the courtroom after the ruling, Yoshimura hugged his parents and his sister. After he lost his home, he moved back in with the parents. He says it has been a struggle for his family.

Meanwhile, the sweepstakes machines remain in police custody. The owners are working to get them back, and plan to pursue a civil suit as a result of their losses.

City Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro declined an on-camera interview with Hawaii News Now, but did say in a statement that he is "deeply disappointed" with Trader's ruling and disagrees that this office acted inappropriately.

"While I take responsibility for any delays my office contributed to, the court also must be held accountable for its inability to set timely dates," he said. "My office acted in good faith and in the interests of the people of Honolulu. It is important to note that the dismissal was not based on the merits of the case. What hasn’t changed is the ruling that the machines that were seized are gambling devices."

Kaneshiro added that his office will consider whether their are grounds to appeal Tuesday's ruling.

SA: Gambling case against 3 men is dismissed

read … Judge throws out charges from state's largest gambling case

13,000 Gallons: More Caldwell Spills on Waikiki Beaches—Nobody Tells Lifeguards

KHON: …Four days after a sewage spill in the Ala Wai Canal, there’s still no word from anyone at the city or state regarding test results of water samples taken at Magic Island.

Nearly 13,000 gallons of sewage overflowed Friday night on Seaview Avenue, near the University of Hawaii at Manoa, then entered a storm drain that empties into the canal.

For now, warning signs remain posted and people are still urged to stay out of the water.

One question we did get answered Tuesday, why lifeguards weren’t told about the spill on Saturday.

A city spokesman said an email was sent to someone at the Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services division, but that person was off-island….

As for water testing, results have yet to be released.  Kahikina says they were given to the state Department of Health for review, and that three days of samples are needed to determine if signs can be removed….

read … Caldwell Spills Again

UH Ed School Still Using Decrepit Buildings in Campaign for More CIP Money

KHON: But for nearly a year now, classrooms used by the College of Education at the University of Hawaii at Manoa have been shut down.

Two buildings used by the department are closed for safety reasons, and classrooms have been relocated….

KHON: Aloha Stadium reveals new turf ahead of UH football season

read … Safety concerns persist with no answers in sight for aging facilities at UH Manoa

Hawaii’s commercial fishery a good steward of the ocean

SA: Hawaii’s longline fishery provides substantial benefits to Hawaii seafood markets and is not overfishing the ocean. It catches around 4 percent of the bigeye tuna, less than 0.01 percent of yellowfin tuna, and less than 0.3 percent of the total tuna caught in the Pacific….

read … Hawaii’s commercial fishery a good steward of the ocean

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