Tuesday, October 13, 2015

USA, Hawaii: Geothermal Survey on Hualalai Seen as an Insult to the Goddess Pele

Group opposes geothermal survey on Hualalai (Hawaii Tribune-Herald)

A group that has long fought geothermal development in Puna plans to challenge a geothermal survey on Hualalai for lacking an environmental assessment.

Terri Napeahi, Pele Defense Fund vice president, thinks the state erred by not requiring the review for the exploration project, which will measure very low-frequency electromagnetic waves underground, and plans to file a lawsuit.

That move follows the state Board of Land and Natural Resources’ decision Friday to deny her request for a contested case hearing.

Napeahi, a follower of Native Hawaiian religious practices, said she sees geothermal development as an insult to the goddess Pele. While this survey, conducted by the University of Hawaii, uses noninvasive techniques and won’t involve drilling, she said an exhaustive review still should occur to ensure cultural sites are not impacted.

Napeahi, of Hilo, said the potential for drilling is a significant religious issue for her even if she doesn’t live in the area.

“Hualalai is no different from any pu‘u that formed on this island,” she said. “She (Pele) is the source. To get any kind of resource they have to drill. That’s an impact on the deity.”