Thursday, October 27, 2011

Musings: Fair Play

I couldn’t wait to get back to my garden, where a bed was waiting beneath a blanket of banana leaves, and last evening, taking advantage of the ideal planting conditions of a Scorpio new moon, I peeled back the covers and thrust my digging fork into the soft, dark ground. A shama thrush perched nearby, waiting to pluck insects and worms from the newly fluffed soil, and just as I finished covering the seeds, the rain came and did the watering, returning with another nourishing sprinkle in the golden light of dawn.

I was off-island when the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rightly rapped KIUC/Free Flow Power for claim jumping on the Westside. A lot of people thought KIUC wasn’t playing fair when it sought permits to study hydro on the same irrigation ditches that Pacific Light and Power, a locally-owned firm, was already trying to develop. What's more, the move spoke volumes about the utility’s insensitivity.

Yet even after receiving such a solid slapdown, KIUC apparently still plans to push ahead. As Vanessa Van Voorhis reports in today’s The Garden Island:

KIUC CEO David Bissell said the co-op will continue to pursue member-owned hydropower on the ditches despite FERC’s ruling and PLP’s license. He called FERC’s “claim-jumping” comment “an unfortunate choice of words” and added that KIUC has been pursuing hydro on the ditches since 2001. When asked in what way, he said through assessments.

The article goes on to state:

[Bissell] said the primary reason “we went down the FERC road” was the co-op didn’t want to spend a lot of member’s money doing site feasibility studies and end up competing with other energy developers for the same site.

So why in the world would KIUC continue to pursue projects on those particular ditches, knowing that it’s directly competing with PLP, and lacks support from FERC? There’s something stinky here.

As for the “claim jumping” comment, well, it may be unfortunate, but it’s true. As I reported back on June 27, it’s Free Flow’s MO to gobble up permits willy-nilly, even some that compete with other developers. In fact, it got so bad on the lower Mississippi River that FERC had to step in and stop it.

People recognize unfairness when they see it, which is why the "Occupy/99%" movement continues to gain ground. As the Associated Press reports:

The distribution of wealth in the United States is among the most unequal among industrialized nations, according to a study by the independent Bertelsmann Foundation, based in Gutersloh, Germany.

The United States ranked in the bottom five on a combination of issues including poverty prevention, health and access to education — ahead of only Greece, Chile, Mexico and Turkey — according to the study on social justice in the 31 developed nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Distribution of wealth in the United States is the most unequal among the nations examined, with more than 17 percent below the poverty line. Of those living below the poverty line in the U.S., some 21.6 percent of them are children, who also suffer from a lack of access to equal education, it showed.

Meanwhile, as Democracy Now! reported:

A new congressional study has found the incomes for the wealthiest one percent of Americans nearly tripled over the last three decades, far outpacing income growth for all other groups. Between 1979 and 2007, the average real after-tax household income grew by 275 percent for the wealthiest Americans. Income grew by just 40 percent for middle-class Americans during the same period.

The study also found the wealthiest 20 percent of Americans made more money in 2007 than the rest of the country combined.

Mother Jones magazine has also published a number of charts that graphically depict the glaring inequality.

So I think Glenn Greenwald summed it up best when he noted:

"What this movement is about is more important than specific legislative demands. It…is expressing dissent to the system itself. It is saying that we believe the system itself is radically corrupted, and we no longer are willing to tolerate it. And that’s infinitely more important than specific legislative or political demands."

You know dat. To borrow a quote from Albert Einstein: ““We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”


Anonymous said...

The "undisclosed" sum of money KIUC paid to Free Flow has not been revealed. Follow the money! What did the contract require? We want to know what's the deal.

Anonymous said...

Maybe brave brave Sir Ben will tell us the scoop. More likely, he'll just run away....

Nothing like backing an outsider only to watch them cave and be co-opted almost immediately.

Anonymous said...

And we donʻt care what David Bissell or the rest of the peons at KIUC say.
Thay are discredited and Bissell sealed it with his latest inane comment.

Hereʻs a funny thought: will Proudfoot defend against the lawsuits?

Yes, we want an accounting of all expenditures and we want to see the disqualified names of the 2nd petition.

irk said...

Lovely post preamble this morning!
The mood glowed.

Anonymous said...

New number just in!
2 % of all our electric power is being used to store and cool our digital info.

There are no innocents in the global warming debate...

Anonymous said...

The problem with government on Kauai is that the governors hate the governees.

Anonymous said...

Inspired me to spruce up my herb garden. :) Mahalo!