The July 11 article on Bio-Logical Capital and its plans to buy Hana Ranch should strike fear into everyone who cares about Hana and the future of Maui.
What Bio-Logical says it is, and what it really is, are two totally different things. Its website waxes melodically on how it "invests for the long term and integrates sustainable, land-based businesses with ecological restoration and conservation." Yet, if you check that website for any Bio-Logical project that has done that, you'll find none.
Even more deceptive is Bio-Logical's statement to The Maui News, that it is "committed to making long-term investments in projects that heal land and communities through stewardship development." For an example of how Bio-Logical heals land and communities, let's look at what it wants to do to Molokai.
Molokai has recently been rated by Yahoo Travel and MSNBC as one of the world's 10 most beautiful undiscovered islands. National Geographic rates it the sixth most beautiful island in the world, ahead of any other in Hawaii.
Yet, Bio-Logical has partnered with Pattern Energy to construct a huge industrial energy project across 17 square miles (11,000 acres) of the most magical, sacred land on Molokai. In three separate surveys, the Molokai people have rejected this project by 93 percent, then 97 percent and, earlier this month, 99 percent. The Molokai community has repeatedly told Bio-Logical and Pattern to leave but they refuse, hoping this taxpayer- and ratepayer-subsidized scheme will make them a $200 million to $400 million profit (most wind companies expect a 20 percent return on a project).
Bio-Logical's gargantuan scheme involves the building of 90 wind turbines, each 47 stories high. Each tower has three, 22,000-pound blades - longer than a 747 wing - and a 1,000-ton concrete base which will stay in the ground forever. It will expand Molokai's scenic roads to four lanes, build hundreds of miles of new roads, transmission lines, cable circuits and other facilities, causing enormous erosion. How is this healing the land?
To connect with Oahu, the companies will dynamite a deepwater port and drill a high-voltage ocean cable across Molokai reef - the longest, most pristine coral reef north of Australia - and the Hawaii National Humpback Whale Sanctuary. How is this ecological restoration and conservation?
The 17 square miles that Bio-Logical plans to destroy are a haven for endangered birds (some wind turbine projects kill 500 birds a day). This land is sacred to Molokai people for the many graves of ancestors and a multitude of other cultural resources, for the magical beauty of its landscapes and the sustenance it provides for traditional hunting and gathering.
Bio-Logical talks about healing land and communities. This project will destroy the lovely town of Maunaloa, with its incomparable views in all directions of Molokai's undulating hills and blue ocean. Soon, Maunaloa's families will look out on walls of turbine towers that howl malevolently, make them sick with wind turbine syndrome and drive them from their homes.
Pattern Energy has been sued four times in California over a huge wind turbine project that is driving the Ocotillo Indians from their homes, bulldozing their ancestors' graves, all the while dismissing concerns about the area's environmental and social resources. The suit complains that Pattern has lied about the human health damage and the project's negative impacts on archaeological, cultural, wildlife and water resources and property values. In response, Pattern said that project will continue even if not one living thing would survive on the land. How's that for ecological restoration and conservation?
Keiki-Pua Dancil, Bio-Logical's vice president, has been touted as a "Maui girl" in Molokai meetings. Yet the Bio-Logical website says Dancil worked for a Mainland chemical and pharmaceutical corporation. How can this "Maui girl" support the savaging of Molokai and the destruction of its people's way of life as restoration and conservation?
Industrial wind projects like Bio-Logical's don't lower greenhouse gas emissions or fossil fuel use, because wind is so intermittent that fossil fuel generation must run constantly to back it up. These projects have no environmental benefit. They line the pockets of the investment banks and oil companies that own them, and impoverish the American taxpayer and utility customers forced to pay for them.
In "Huckleberry Finn," Mark Twain, who loved Hawaii, describes how snake oil salesmen were treated: They were tarred and feathered and run out of town. Things have evolved since then, but when outfits like Bio-Logical come to Hawaii with their sweet-talking schemes and phony experience, it's only pono to tell them to leave - just as Molokai has done. Let's hope Hana can do the same.
* Molokai resident Mike Bond is a renewable energy expert, the former CEO of an international energy company and an adviser to more than 70 of the world's largest utilities and energy companies.