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USA: More than 200 people arrested to date protesting a wind farm project in Hawaii; incl. company comments

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Article
18 November 2019

After another night of protests, number of arrests linked to wind farm opposition hit 200

Author: HNN staff, Hawaii News Now

More arrests were made overnight after hundreds of wind farm opponents showed up in Kalaeloa for another night of protests... [A] total of 200 arrests have been made since equipment transports from Kalaeloa to Kahuku began a month ago... At the Kapolei Courthouse on Monday, nearly two dozen wind farm protesters, including Wahilani and Naeole, arrested last month made their first appearances on petty misdemeanor charges for obstructing a private road. Attorney Aaron Wills, who’s representing roughly 70 arrestees, says some are accepting plea deals but others are pleading not guilty. “This is more about protecting the environment, protecting the aina, standing up for their community. Their community in their particular cases, their voices are not being heard,” he said... Wind farm protesters in Kalaeloa have sought to block the transport of equipment and parts to the North Shore for weeks.

... Some accused officers of using excessive force during the protest, but the Honolulu Police Department disputed those claims... AES COO Mark Miller said, “After performing extensive studies and securing all necessary permits, we are confident that we are building a project that is safe and, ultimately, will help advance Hawaii’s transition to 100% renewable energy.” Critics of the project are concerned about potential health effects and the killing of native Hawaiian wildlife such as the Hawaiian hoary bat.

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Article
16 November 2019

"Bad night" in Hawai'i as arrests rise to 161

Author: Mare Haimona-Riki, Te Ao

More than 25 people were arrested in Hawai'i overnight, in their attempt to halt the planned construction of eight 170-metre-high wind turbines as part of a wind farm development near the community of Kahuku on O'ahu... AES Corporation (AES), a Fortune 500 global power company, will be constructing the eight wind turbines, to be built in Kahuku which has a population of just under 3,000 people... Mark Miller, Chief Operating Officer of AES says, "The North Shore Wind Farms is important for Hawai'i's renewable energy future. When operational in 2020, our wind farm will produce enough renewable energy to power 16,000 homes throughout O'ahu – an important step toward achieving Hawaii's commitment to reach 100% renewable energy by 2045.”

... Te Ao reached out to AES asking for their response regarding their co-operation with the community members... Verla Moore, community liaison for AES Nā Pua Makani responded: "We are deeply committed to being good neighbours to the residents of Kahuku. We respect people's right to voice their opinions about the project. We continue to have many conversations with community members from Kahuku and the surrounding North Shore neighbourhoods in one-on-one and small group settings to answer their questions, address their concerns and find the most meaningful way to give back to the community."

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Article
16 November 2019

Telescope protest inspires more Native Hawaiian activism

Author: The New York Times

The ongoing protest by mostly Native Hawaiians stalling construction of a $1.4 billion telescope on the Big Island has inspired protests on Oahu... to block the turbines and the redevelopment of a beach park... Borrowing the civil disobedience methods of the protesters against the telescope, opponents try to block convoys delivering turbine parts to the Kahuku wind farm site. Police have made more than 160 arrests since October... On Oahu’s eastern shore, 28 protesters were arrested for blocking access to Waimanalo Beach Park. “Mauna Kea has emboldened our people to rise up in ways that we have never seen before,” said Hinaleimoana Wong, a Native Hawaiian community leader who has been active in the fight against the telescope. “This is an indication that there will be much more greater vigilance in the community when there’s a potential project on the horizon.”... Telescope opponents say the project will desecrate land held sacred by Native Hawaiians. Wind farm opponents cite health and noise concerns and threats to a native bat, among other issues. Those who say they are protecting the beach park argue that the renovations are unneeded and unwanted.

... AES Corp., the Virginia-based energy company building the turbines, said there’s no proof of negative health effects and that the noise is similar to light traffic. The company says it has a habitat conservation plan developed with state and federal agencies to protect the endangered bat.

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Article
13 November 2019

Commentary: Hawaii protests show why wind energy can't save us from climate change

Author: Robert Bryce, The Hill

Since mid-October, some 128 people on the island of Oahu have been arrested while protesting a wind energy project being built near the small village of Kahuku... Of the many land-use conflicts that have erupted during the past decade over proposed renewable-energy projects, the protests at Kahuku are remarkable both for their duration and the number of people who have been arrested... [L]eaving... fuels in the ground will be difficult when so many people in so many places don’t want to live near projects that capture energy that’s above the ground... Choon James, a Kahuku resident who was arrested last month while protesting the wind project [said that] the people of Kahuku have “said over and over that we don’t want these turbines... I’m all for green energy. But environmental justice has to be a priority.”

... Put short, the proponents of all-renewable schemes are promoting the myth that there’s plenty of vacant land out there in flyover country that’s ready and waiting to be covered with renewable energy stuff. The truth is quite different and that truth is colliding with the facts — and the people — on the ground. 

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Article
17 October 2019

55 protesters arrested as wind farm convoy completes journey to Kahuku

Author: HNN staff, Hawaii News Now

As part of an hours-long operation that stretched from Kalaeloa to the North Shore, police arrested 55 people at two protest sites as they worked to clear a path for a convoy with giant turbines destined for a planned wind farm in Kahuku... “Today is not the end. We’re still going to be fighting,” said Kamalani Keliikuli, vice president of Ku Kiai Kahuku. “We just don’t want the turbines, and we want them to listen to us. We’re in it for the fight.”... Inez Larson, one of the protesters arrested, said it was necessary to stand her ground. “I just keep thinking to myself, the desecration of the land is enough and you know, I don’t want anyone watching this to be crying or upset,” Larson said. “We have to do this, the government has forced us to do this. They won’t listen to the people.”... The project has all the necessary approvals to move forward with the project, which calls for a wind farm with eight turbines. The wind farm is projected to produce 27 megawatts ― enough to power 16,000 homes... “We feel comfortable with the work that we’ve done with the comprehensive studies that we’ve done to ensure that we are building a project that is safe, secure, and is going to ultimately benefit the state and its long-term energy goals," said Mark Miller, AES chief operating officer.

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