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Letter: Good News on the Wind Front

Good news for Molokai Ranch may be good news for us all!

Many of you remember early last year when Molokai Ranch CEO Peter Nicholas held a series of informational meetings, where he explained that Governor Abercrombie’s threat of eminent domain — condemning private land for public use — had forced the Ranch to lease 11,000 acres to Pattern Energy for the construction of 90 giant wind turbines.

Two weeks ago, members of I Aloha Molokai (IAM) were invited to meet with former Castle & Cook Resorts Lanai land development director Mr. Clay Rumboa, who is now the new Ranch general manager. He repeated the same touching story: how the Ranch didn’t really want the windmills, and how they were forced into the project by the governor’s threat.

We at IAM are fair people. We are reasonable people. We don’t want to see anyone bullied, whether it’s a homestead farmer or a sprawling ranch. So we went to see the governor, just to ask him, why are you doing this?

Of course, Mr. Abercrombie is a very busy guy, so we were granted an audience with Mr. Ambruce Cobba, the governor’s chief of staff. When we explained the situation, Mr. Cobba was shocked and amazed! The governor never threatened eminent domain, he said, that’s just not his style. He does want a cable from Oahu to Maui, but otherwise he just wants the islands to all work together, like one big ohana. Mr. Cobba stated categorically that “no threat of eminent domain ever came from this office.”

So here’s a great opportunity for everyone. There’s no threat after all. Mr. Ramboa can tell his bosses to relax. The Ranch can go ahead and cancel the lease with Pattern Energy (their lawyers know how to do this) and make the wind turbines go away. Then we can all sit down and discuss Mr. Ramboa’s list of win/win opportunities — like the reopening of the theater, the lodge and the hotel, the upgrading of the west end water system, raising hogs and growing feed stock on Hawaiian Homelands and maybe even the conversion of Molokai’s diesel power plant to solar.

We are I Aloha Molokai, and we too just want everyone to get along.

Mahalo.

Kanohowailuku Helm, President

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