Initially when I attended the Feb. 3, 2011 public scoping meeting, like most people who attended, I went to get information on the impact of the windmills/undersea cable. Many of us were disappointed since answers were not to be provided at this meeting. Thus, my testimony came out of annoyance. And to set the record straight, my testimony that night was not a representation of the Molokai Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s views, it was my personal view.
Some of you may remember that back in the late 1950s, the west end of Molokai was used for target practice by Navy planes. Eventually the Navy stopped and moved their bombing practice to Kaho`olawe. Shortly after that, the state contracted an Oahu company to dredge sand from Papohaku Beach, loading barges at Hale O Lono harbor for shipment to Oahu. The sand was used primarily to replenish Waikiki beaches due to erosion. Many of the workers came from off-island, some were hired locally. Then the state needed Molokai’s blue rocks for the construction of the reef runway. Cinders were shipped to Oahu around this period of time too. Later, more rocks were removed from Molokai for Lanai’s breakwater.
The state has been taking Molokai’s rich natural resources to support Oahu’s growth for a period of time. However, Molokai has not been given any restitution or restoration in return. It is sad that in the past, our island’s natural resources were taken without regard to community concerns. Yet we get reported as having the highest unemployment, electricity, gasoline, water/sewage rate and the stigma as having lots of welfare recipients.
If windmills are destined for Molokai, then we need to be sure our community will benefit. My suggestion is not only should we receive free electricity but that all residents receive monthly stipends. Our natural resources are our cultural legacy and it should not be taken without community understanding, acknowledgment and benefits.