When the dogs and I first went out, the world was ethereal, wet, silent, Jupiter nearly as bright and high as a moon on the fat side of half. As we walked, more was revealed: wisps, streaks, wide ribbons in undulating patterns, like waves, bumpy mounds, puffballs. And then the dawn came, turning the black clouds mauka dusty pink and the sky in the east shades of orange, yellow, red, so that I was treated to a riot of shapes and color every which way I turned.
Co-op member unhappiness about KIUC’s foray into hydro via Free Flow Power, FERC and a special election challenging the Free Flow contract has taken an interesting turn, with Scott Mijares now circulating a petition that, to use his words, “gives our members the opportunity to object to the manner in which KIUC's management and board have conducted this vote.”
The petition calls on the Board of Directors to submit to the general membership for a vote its Resolution 05-11, which approved the language of the ballot and associated materials sent out to members, as well as the timeline for the election.
The petition preamble makes references to “stacking the deck” and “an illegitimate election process” while expressing dismay at the Board’s decision to “schedule the vote for the earliest possible date, thus severely limiting the time available for the membership to become informed.”
All of which raises the very good question of why, oh why, didn’t KIUC head off this skirmish by handling the election in a more fair, above-board, inclusive manner, especially since it was already on the hot seat for the perception, real or otherwise, that it had failed to be inclusive and above board with the members when it choose the FERC road to hydro?
Meanwhile, much has been said about where Bill Tam stands on this issue. He’s currently the deputy director of the state Commission on Water Resource and Management, and is familiar with the FERC process from his former tenure in the state Attorney General’s office when it opposed FERC jurisdiction over three proposed hydro projects on Kauai.
The Garden Island acknowledges that it hasn’t been able to get a comment from Tam, but it doesn’t reveal the reason: one of its reporters apparently used Google research to pull a quote from a years-old speech he gave, and Tam wasn’t too pleased.
I was able to get some clarification from Tam for my Honolulu Weekly article, which comes out today. And KIUC Board Member Jan TenBruggencate went over to Honolulu for a face-to-face with Tam last week, which resulted in today’s TGI “news" article entitled “KIUC clarifies its position:”
“There is nothing KIUC is doing that violates state policy on its approach to FERC,” said Jan TenBruggencate, a member of KIUC’s Board of Directors. “Clearly the state doesn’t want utilities in the state of Hawai‘i to use the FERC process to license hydro plants. Clearly we know that, and clearly we are not licensing any hydro plants.”
He added that it is his understanding that the state does not oppose the use of preliminary permits to scope projects. It opposes the licensing, something for which KIUC has not applied.
So I asked Tam, who previously told me he’d taken no stand on the FERC permits, if that was a correct statement of his position and got this email in response:
Hypothetical situations have been considered under certain assumptions, but no resolution has been reached.
And I can’t help but wonder, if the state supposedly doesn't oppose the use of preliminary permits to scope hydro projects, why have two state agencies — the Agribusiness Development Corp. and Department of Hawaiian Home Lands — already filed formal motions to intervene?
Clearly, they're alarmed about something.