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Richard, kind of confused on your position on HB 106, which died yesterday. It tried to modify Act 97 by formalizing geothermal subzones and returned geothermal permitting authority to Hawaii county. Neither would have been favorable to geothermal development. Have to say, never saw anything like how Hawaii island is viewing the whole topic of geothermal, it is one mass confusion party, when it doesn't have to be. This confusion has caused major divisiveness and it would be a big accomplishment for BICC if it could organize some kind of talk story about basic geothermal technology facts which are eluding fairly well educated people like Ruderman and Kim. It's been bewildering seeing all the strange concepts so many people have developed about geothermal, mainly due to a small, very fanatical organizational group in Puna. It might seem harsh but this core anti-geothermal group in Puna needs to be addressed directly. Are you sure you aren't referring to HB 932 in your post above? It doesn't look like it has much chance of going through either but it promotes geothermal development.


Aloha Ted;
I was on Oahu for both the house discussion and the senate votes where HB106 and HB932 were voted down. HB106 allowed home rule and had the backing of both the DLNR and DBEDT. Both bills allowed geothermal development where solar and wind were allowed. In the final analysis, it appears that Sen Ruderman chose geothermal subzone requirement over home rule. I have had discussion with him and he is opposed to geothermal. His district is the most economically challenged. Pahoa, Kaú and Keaáu are one, two and three in subsidized lunches. He is not a private citizen now. What about the rest of the people?

Aloha Ted
Neither HB106 or HB932 required geothermal subzones. Both included county permitting process. Both included mediation. The BICC favored both bills. Those who opposed geothermal did not like the bills for its mediation provision which gave a date certain for dispute resolution. And, they did not like it because it did not include a geothermal subzone requirement.

Richard, there were two modifications made to HB106 before the last vote. One was to put back geothermal subzones, which Act 97 removed, and to have the permit level at the county level, which Act 97 removed. Both were added at the last minute and contained wording that I recognize came directly from the anti-geothermal group. Passing HB106 would have brought geothermal development to a grinding halt. Ruderman is against geothermal and he is part of the anti-geothermal group in Puna. Still not sure where the confusion is coming from but geothermal subzones restrict development to areas defined in the original geothermal subzone act of 1983, which severely curtails the areas allowed for geothermal exploration.

http://westhawaiitoday.com/sections/news/local-news/bill-reinstitute-geothermal-subzones-fails.html-0
Bill to reinstitute geothermal subzones fails

BICC should not want subzones since that will make exploration and development MORE EXPENSIVE. Also, leaving the permitting authority with the county would continue the snail's pace of development plus adding obstructionist costs, making geothermal development MORE EXPENSIVE. Regardless, there was a lot of confusion with these bills and they deserved to be killed.

Act 97 staying in place makes geothermal a state asset, not a county asset. While I know home rule is very important to the islands, Hawaii county has proven they aren't competent to manage geothermal potential. The anti-geothermal group sensed they could manipulate the council to their ends and their only goal is to block and obstruct. This is basically the end of an almost 3 decade battle against geothermal development. It's a good thing both bills were killed and Act 97 now becomes the law of the land.


So, we're back to square one, where we started with Act 97 in effect.

Act 97 opens up much more area for geothermal development. However, it is moving all authority to the state and I believe BLNR is a rearranged section of DLNR.

Hawaii county should have home rule, but from my view, has been incompetent. It has been 30 years of Hawaii county versus a small group in Puna defining geothermal development in Hawaii, which was NO geothermal as their unmovable position. It is not in the best interest of the state to keep perpetuating this nonsense. So, it is over. The politics of geothermal have been removed from this island, to Oahu and DLNR. Now, there is only one stop for a permitting process. Hawaii county had their chance and blew it.


The Board of Land and Natural Resources approves permits and is to the Dept of Land and Natural Resources like the Board of Regents is to the University of Hawaii.
It appears to me that Sen Ruderman was so determined to force a geothermal resource zone that he sacrificed county home rule. I was really disapointed in him when he sponsored a bill to ban the herbicide Round Up. That sent a shiver through the agriculture community. It appears more and more that he is very narrowly focused.

Don't want to continue this in an open comments section, but YUP!

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