HB 2421, the so called “oil tax bill,” sounds great, but the devil is in the details, and the details are not pretty.
*FRAMING: The bill sounds great: tax oil fund clean energy. However, coal and palm oil biodiesel are far worse in terms of greenhouse gas emissions and Asian palm oil biodiesel practices are causing cultural genocide and ecosystem destruction. In addition, state law does not define clean energy. Proponents of HB2421 argue that we should have the oil tax this year and we can add coal next year. But this bill is a newer version of a bill from last year and the same proponents argued the same thing last year. They simply do not want to tax coal. (20% of Oahu’s electricity is from coal; HC&S (Puunene, Maui) burns 60,000 tons of coal and 100,000 tons of bagasse per year to make electricity; Gay & Robinson wanted to use coal to make “clean” ethanol).
*LOCAL SOLUTIONS: The way to reduce our dependence on fossil fuel is to build solar and wind farms on each island and to also build solar and wind systems on commercial, residential, and government rooftops. HB 2421 instead promotes the first phase of a multi-billion-dollar inter-island cable that will not be ready for use for 5-10 years. This diverts money away from building renewable energy alternatives now and instead focuses on costly infrastructure. Moloka`i and Lana`i residents object to 41-story wind towers on their islands to power O`ahu.
*TAXES: Would raise taxes during a recession. Working class people who live in Kapolei and work Downtown or in Waikiki and people who live in Hilo and work in Kona would be impacted the most.
*WATER: The money raised would finance agricultural projects with no mention of constitutionally protected Hawaiian water rights.
*BIG BROTHER: The bill supports planning for “Smart Grid” infrastructure improvements where your local utility can monitor moment-by-moment energy use for each ratepayer. With computers the utility would be able to determine when different appliances are turned on and when you are not home.
*HU HONUA: The money raised would finance planning for the Hu Honua, a Hilo biofuel facility, which should not be built.
Please call Senators Clayton Hee, Carol Fukunaga and Mike Gabbard and email testimony to them today at mailto:Testimony@Capitol.hawaii.gov Tell them HB2421 needs major work and to please hold the bill.
Greenhouse Gas Emission Coefficients by Fuel Type
HC&S uses 60,000 tons of coal per year: “Lee Jakeway of Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar (HC&S) …said HC&S burns about 60,000 tons of coal yearly, and 100,000 dry tons of bagasse” Public (F)utility: Observations from the Energy Expo, By Rob Parsons. Published in Maui Time Weekly. November 15, 2007 http://www.legacyprojectshawaii.com/2007-11-15.php
Clean Ethanol: Under state law (HRS 269-91) “Renewable energy” means …Biofuel [from any source made in any way]. Contrast with hydrogen which must be produced from renewable energy sources. http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol05_Ch0261-0319/HRS0269/HRS_0269-0091.htm
Palm Oil: Cultural and environmental destruction re palm oil was reported by the Wall Street Journal. http://www.lifeofthelandhawaii.org/WSJ.pdf
Wall Street Journal http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123378462447149239.html
In These New Times http://inthesenewtimes.com/2009/05/28/us-big-brother-concerns-grow-privacy-challenges-to-smart-grid/
‘Henry Curtis is with the Life of the Land. See him on Energy & Power in Hawaii, Thursdays, 8:30-9:00 pm via TV (Channel 54) or Simultaneous Web Broadcast (http://www.olelo.org/) and see more at http://www.lifeofthelandhawaii.org/. Reach him at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org’