Hawaiian Electric Industries is proposing a Maui Biofuel Refinery that is truly unsustainable; and will force Hawaii to become dependent upon importing „Palm Oil.‰ What‚s more, this BlueEarth project will readily negate the opportunity for Hawaii‚s locals and rural communities to participate in the development of a much more sustainable and worthy renewable energy/biofuel program for Hawaii. (See Link Below)
MECO announced using 72 million gallons of petroleum diesel in 2005; they are expected to use a 15% blend of biodiesel by 2015, which comes to only 10.8 million gallons of pure biodiesel (B100) stock ˆ to be used in making a B15 blend to meet the 2015 biofuel requirements. Then why is it that they need to import 120 million gallons of Palm Oil? That‚s over 110 percent more B100 stock than what they really need! Could it be that they are trying to control Hawaii‚s new and lucrative emerging biofuel industry-economy-marketplace?
Palm oil is the primary plantation crop responsible for rainforest destruction throughout the world. It is presently destroying wildlife habitat in Indonesia and Malaysia; and now threatening the Sumatran tiger, Asian elephant, Boneo orangutans and Sumatran rhinoceros into extinction. Moreover, these affected countries‚ poor indigenous people are being forced from their ancestral forest lands and displaced, having to live in shanty towns and city slums. (See Link Below: One of many articles of environmental injustice, concerning palm oil.)
The yearly purchases of 120 million gallons of palm oil will insight the destruction of more than160,000 acres of rainforest habitat. In Hawaii, there is only a small fraction of rainforest type lands available for palm oil monoculture. A much more sustainable oil tree crop would be Jatropha curcas, in which 350,000 acres of land will be needed to satisfy BlueEarth‚s throughput of 120,000,000 gallons of feedstock. Coconut and Kukui tree monoculture is costly and both can be difficult to harvest and process efficiently.
However, in-state production of biofuel crops will be stymied by the BlueEarth business model. Growers will be held to a low „take it or leave it‰ price control, dictated by this over-scaled processing refinery.
Therefore, instead of creating hundreds of small locally-owned enterprises and thousands of jobs in our State‚s rural communities ˆ fostering an economic multiplier within each ˆ we will now be held to only 40 to 50 jobs at the most, offered by an offshore company, importing offshore feedstock. Through BlueEarth‚s controlling of the production and marketing of Hawaii‚s biofuel industry; they will obviously spend their revenues elsewhere and re-invest abroad ˆ exploiting poor indigenous people and their natural resources.
As a grower of tree bearing oilseed (TBO) crops, we will be organizing into a USDA growers‚ co-operative: recruiting growers throughout the islands‚ rural communities and Hawaiian homestead regions. Our goal is to consolidate our efforts and production; to economically produce biodiesel feedstock, on marginal lands, through the planting of Jatropha curcas ˆ a hardy, fast growing, high yielding oilseed tree crop. We will also properly develop our production into a vertically integrated system, thereby processing the oilseeds, within several rural outlays, and utilizing the by- and co-products to be value-added through local community-based economic development programs. (See Link: http://www.jatrophabiodiesel.org/index.php)
Sustainability and innovation is our theme and the objectives in which to meet our goals. To allow a large offshore corporation model, to control this industry, will mean the misappropriation of Hawaii‚s biofuel industry‚s sustainability; with the loss of our locally innovative production programs and thousands of rural community jobs… Even moreover, the potential extinction of several high-profile, critically endangered species will also be blamed on Hawaii, which will definitely affect our tourism industry.