Big Wind: Corporate Plan or Planning by the People
Opinion by Artice Swingle
Looking at the map of the proposed undersea cable route, consider the following:
Both Oahu cable sites are on military bases. Why? Because these are the only sites approved for this type of cable.
What will happen when the cable is laid from Ilio Point and along the south shore of Molokai?
Destruction of breeding grounds for native animals and plants, ancient fish ponds and our reef. How do we know this? We have on Molokai an elder who has worked on undersea cables in Hawaii and throughout the world. Cables are laid on the sea floor unless there is an obstruction. Then an attempt is made to dig through the obstruction, or in the case of a reef, dynamite is used to blow a hole through it, endangering the whole reef system.
What about the cable to Lanai from Kaunakakai? The cable lies in the channel where whales come seasonally to breed and birth their young. For this reason these waters are protected as part of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.
Our reef system is so important because it is one of the very few living reef systems in the world. Most reef systems have been fragmented and destroyed in the names of progress. Witness the reefs surrounding Oahu!
What is the potential for military involvement on the affected sites? On Kauai, expansion of the base has resulted in chain link fencing cordoning off former agricultural land, ocean access for fishing and sacred cultural sites. Fencing off Ilio and not allowing fishing access, as well as fencing significant areas of the south and west sides of Molokai, will result in loss of fishing and hunting rights – very important food sources. Local residents are reeling from the proposed disqualification of 450 families from medical insurance coverage, severe unemployment, and lack of paying jobs. Loss of hunting and fishing rights will greatly impact those who are already at a level of subsistence living as well as jeopardize our local economy.
Pattern Energy is a firm from California that was requested by Peter Nicholas of Molokai Properties (Guoco Corporation) to construct an industrial wind factory built on Guoco-held land. A representative of Pattern Energy has said they will make $40-$60 million from government tax rebates on Molokai.
What are the potential impacts on our island from expansion of our harbor, construction of an industrial wind factory, the secrecy surrounding the facts, and impact of the undersea cable on Molokai and neighbor islands?
Let our voices be heard. Go to IAlohaMolokai.com for more information about the undersea cable bill, SB367, the industrial windmill factory, and the contact information for our senator and representative.