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State Seeks Mana`o on Cable Project

Energy office moves forward with EIS.

Over the past few weeks, many Molokai residents have received phone calls asking for their mana`o on about some hot-button issues around here – La`au Point, Molokai Ranch and windmills.

The State of Hawaii Energy Office requested the survey as part of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the upcoming undersea cable project.

“We [were] doing an informal telephone survey to obtain community feedback and to better understand Molokai’s community concern, especially the interisland wind issue,” said Alan Kam of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) and who is managing the EIS contract.

Kam said the survey was the first step in gathering community feedback, Next on the agenda are public meetings, to be held by the end of the year.

“We’re really sensitive that this has to be right for [the] community, that’s what this process is going to be looking at,” said Ted Peck, the state’s energy administrator.

Around 300 households were surveyed. They were asked to rank, from high to low, their views on not only the cable and wind energy, but topics like Molokai Properties Ltd. (MPL), also known as Molokai Ranch, and its history on the island.

Bridget Mowat, supervisor of Department of Human Services Molokai, said she was called at home and told the surveyor the cable project doesn’t sit right with her.

“I’m concerned – on Molokai the people get nothing, Oahu gets the electricity, and [the Ranch] gets the revenue,” she said.

The cable project would funnel energy from a proposed wind farm on Molokai to Oahu, and the wind farm would lease land from MPL.

“We have a responsibly to Molokai and the `aina and its resources, not the big wind guys and not the Ranch,” she continued.

The state made a commitment two years ago to become less dependent on fossil fuels. The Hawaii clean Energy Initiative is an agreement between the state and the U.S. Department of Energy to reach 70 percent clean energy by 2030.

Peck said the state has a responsibility to its environment and its residents to be financially sound as well as energy efficient.

“Living off of petrol is like playing Russian roulette with our economy,” he said. “Five percent or more of our economy is just leaving to buy crude oil.” Last year, the state spent $8 billion on energy – more than any other state. 


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