Thursday, August 30, 2001

3 groups to fight
Waahila power lines

They will testify at a hearing on
the case that will begin Nov. 1

By Diana Leone

The Outdoor Circle, Life of the Land and Malama O Manoa will argue against 138-kilovolt electric lines on Waahila Ridge at a contested-case hearing Nov. 1-9.

The community and environmental groups have been granted "standing" to pursue their claim that Hawaiian Electric Co.'s request to install the line over conservation lands controlled by the Department of Land and Natural Resources should be denied.

HECO spokeswoman Lynne Unemori said the larger lines are needed "to prevent a major blackout."

"You don't wait for an emergency to happen before doing the planning necessary to avoid one," she said.

The three groups intervening question whether the lines are genuinely needed and decry what they say will be a visual blight on Waahila Ridge.

"We feel that this power line is going to negatively impact the state both economically and environmentally," said Outdoor Circle's Mary Steiner. "We also don't think that Hawaiian Electric has adequately proven that there's a need for this proposed line."

Malama lawyer Sheryl Nicholson said, "Malama O Manoa has been a strong and vigilant advocate against Hawaiian Electric's proposal to erect the high-voltage line atop Waahila Ridge, and we look forward to a vigorous contest."

Life of the Land's Henry Curtis said he was pleased that the judge indicated he would include consideration of the "public trust doctrine."

The doctrine was a factor in the landmark Hawaii Supreme Court ruling regarding rights to Waiahole Ditch water, but the Waahila Ridge case would be the first time the concept would be used regarding a land use decision, he said.

Retired Maui Judge E. John McConnell will serve as hearing officer for the contested case.

At a pre-hearing conference yesterday, the parties involved agreed to a schedule for submitting written testimony and exhibits and filing motions in the case during September and October.

E-mail to City Desk

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]

© 2001 Honolulu Star-Bulletin