Hawaiian Electric has asked the Public Utilities Commission to approve a massive liquefied natural gas (LNG) project. The LNG would be imported from Tilbury Island in British Columbia and offloaded from a tanker in Mamala Bay. From there, the LNG would be delivered by a fleet of trucks to Oahu power plants, or driven to the harbor and shipped for burning on Maui and the Big Island. Hawaiian Electric's request is also tied to two other things: (1) approval of the NextEra merger; and (2) approval to spend more than $1.3 billion on retrofitting numerous power plants and other capital projects.
We agree with Governor Ige that LNG is a costly distraction:
LNG is a fossil fuel. LNG is imported. And any time or money spent on LNG is time and money not spent on renewable energy.
And very importantly, we will not put the neighborhoods of Pearl City, Waipahu, Iroquois Point, Ewa, Kapolei, Makakilo, Honokohai Hale and Ko Olina through years of permitting and siting battles for a fossil fuel plant.
So I have reached the conclusion that Hawaii does not need or want LNG in our future. It is time to focus all of our efforts on renewable energy and my administration will actively oppose the building of LNG facilities in Hawaii.
The LNG project will tie our future to importing massive quantities of fossil fuels for the next two decades or longer. But just as important, the LNG project will force us to keep exporting our environmental impacts instead of accelerating local solutions for clean energy.
If we choose LNG, we will be responsible for emitting ton after ton of greenhouse gases like methane and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Those greenhouse gases are causing disasters like sea level rise, which is already swallowing islands
in the Pacific.
We will be responsible for the destruction of land and water used for oil and gas drilling. A 2016 study
showed how oil and gas drilling in Western Canada is creating man-made earthquakes.
We will be complicit in the building of huge LNG facilities proposed for places like Tilbury Island and around the world. Last year, one Canadian tribe unanimously voted
to reject a $1 billion offer to build an LNG terminal that would have threatened the health of traditional fishing grounds.
If the answer is importing LNG, the question must be "what's the biggest mistake Hawaii can make?"
Review Hawaiian Electric's application: