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Monday, September 9, 2019

Hawai`i Climate Change Litigation Needs Your Support


Aloha!
              We hope that this finds you well. The Board of Directors and Kat and myself want you to know how grateful we are for your support of Life of the Land’s work to protect all that make the Hawaiian Islands one of the most special places on the planet. Mahalo for being a beacon of hope in these times when we are witness to the preventable devastation of the Amazon and the rapid dismantling of environmental protection laws.

              We write today to humbly ask for your support specifically since Life of the Land represents the community in the first two climate change litigation proceedings in Hawai`i.

The first major climate change action that LOL is involved in is the Hu Honua project in Pepe`ekeo that proposes to raze forests to burn wood in order to produce electricity. The Amazon is being set on fire, What don’t they get?  

Bill McKibben said, “"Of all the solutions to climate change, ones that involve trees make people the happiest. Earlier this year, when a Swiss study announced that planting 1.2 trillion trees might cancel out a decade’s worth of carbon emissions, people swooned [] So it may surprise you to learn that, at the moment, the main way in which the world employs trees to fight climate change is by cutting them down and burning them."

              The community on the Hamakua Coast is actively against the project that has been secretive and dismissive of their concerns. 

Life of the Land intervened, however, the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approved the sale of Hu Honua electricity to HELCO anyway. LOL then appealed the PUC decision to the Hawai`i Supreme Court. The Court upheld Life of the Land’s appeal and is forcing the PUC to hold a contested case proceeding (evidence, testimony, and an evidentiary hearing). We are facing HELCO and Hu Honua and their battery of attorneys.  Only Life of the Land can present the community`s perspective in this proceeding.

Aware that climate change was becoming an issue, the PUC allowed us into the Gas Company Rate Case solely to discuss climate change. The PUC then ignored climate change completely in their decision in this case, so we appealed to the Hawai`i Supreme Court in January 2019. The Gas Company filed their Answering Brief of July 31, and the PUC filed their answering brief on August 30. LOL will file a Reply Brief. We are represented by two terrific attorneys, Lance Collins and Bianca Isaki.

              This is why Life of the Land is humbly asking you to make a tax-deductible donation … so that we have the resources to present a strong, evidence-based case against corporate interests who care little for our people. Your support has kept Life of the Land alive for 50 years. We are your voice in these David and Goliath struggles…and we are winning! Please send your support today!
              
Mahalo nui!
Henry Curtis
Executive Director
LOL, P.O. Box 37158, Honolulu, HI 96837

People of conscience need to break their ties with corporations
financing the injustice of climate change.
Desmond Tutu

Friday, September 6, 2019

Life of the Land -- Status of Two Climate Legal Actions


Posted on September 6, 2019

Hu Honua Bioenergy proposed chopping down and burning forests to generate electricity in 2008.

Life of the Land, founded in February 1970, has been in 50 Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission regulatory proceedings including 10 dealing with BioEnergy.

The Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission twice approved the Hu Honua – Hawai`i Electric Light Company (HELCO) contract.

The Hawai`i Supreme Court upheld Life of the Land`s appeal remanding the case back to the Commission. 

The court ruled that Life of the Land has a constitutional right to a “clean and healthy environment," and that the Commission has been mandated to examine greenhouse gases since 2011.

The Public Utilities Commission is in the initial stages of a greenhouse gas contested case proceeding. 

The parties are HELCO, Hu Honua, and the Consumer Advocate.

The participants are Life of the Land, Tawhiri, and Hamakua Energy.

The Commission is requiring Hu Honua to conduct a life cycle assessment including building the facility, acquiring the fuel, and burning the fuel.

Documents must be filed on September 17, 2019: (1) preliminary briefs by all parties and participants, and (2) a draft Procedural Schedule filed only by the parties.

A second Life of the Land appeal is before the Hawai`i Supreme Court. This deals with climate denier Hawai`i Gas.  

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