Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Life of the Land files motion to intervene in Penguin Banks energy project

by Larry Geller

Life of the Land announced yesterday that it has filed a motion to intervene in the proposal by a Washington state company to install 100 wave/wind generators in middle of the whale sanctuary at Penguin Banks.

Disappeared News detailed this project in two articles, Company applies to place Chinese-made wind turbines offshore in Hawaii and Of course, proposed wave/wind generators are in precisely the wrong place (if you’re a whale).

Although this project remains under the radar in Hawaii itself, Grays Harbor Ocean Energy Company is moving forward with the application process through the federal government. They were informed in a routine letter signed by Robert W. Bell, Division of Hydropower, Administration and Compliance, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, dated December 5, 2008, that their preliminary permit application has been accepted for filing.

Grays Harbor was instructed in the letter to file applications within five days with the Department of the Interior, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Bureau of Land Management. Without effective intervention by concerned Hawaii citizens, the federal process may simply go forward unimpeded. Life of the Land’s filing is so far the only request to intervene in this matter.


This composite map shows that the project site is locate within the area of highest whale density around the Hawaiian Islands (red color).  The project site map is from  the Grays Harbor public filing with the FEBC. The Whale Density map is thanks to Brad Parsons.


In its 9-page filing with the FERC, Henry Curtis wrote for Life of the Land:

Life of the Land's members are concerned about energy issues, ocean
issues, environmental issues, cultural issues, endangered species and
increasing transparency of complex governmental procedures, subject to
any restrictions imposed by Protective Orders. This is the first
application for a large scale ocean energy system in Hawai`i and will
establish policy and set the tone for this and future ocean energy
proposals. All energy projects have both positive and negative impacts,
and each individual proposal needs to be evaluated on its particular
unique facts. This proposed wave farm is proposed to be built in the
Penguin Banks, a part of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale
National Marine Sanctuary, established in 1992. The Penguin Banks is
an area noted for deep ocean fishing. Penguin Banks also has cultural
significance for the native Hawaiian community.

Life of the Land is a Hawaii non-profit environmental and community action group which supports the public interest in sustainable land use and energy policies. Their website is at lifeofthelandhawaii.org. Donations to support Life of the Land can be sent via PayPal at http://www.lifeofthelandhawaii.org/Donation.html.



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