Wednesday, April 27, 2016

USA, Hawaii: Geothermal Bill to be Discussed Today

Geothermal bill moves to conference committee (Hawaii Tribune Herald)

Hawaii state lawmakers will meet today in a conference committee to discuss the fate of a bill aimed at curbing the ability of counties to pass their own geothermal regulations.

The legislation passed both chambers, though the House advanced a nearly blank version known as a short-form bill.

Rep. Richard Onishi, who will participate in the conference, referred to it as a strategic move that kept the bill alive while forcing negotiations between Senate and House members.

“I think there are some concerns over the counties’ role in the whole process,” said Onishi, D-Hilo, Keaau, Kurtistown, Volcano. He said he preferred the original version that allowed counties to pass their own regulations for geothermal plants within a mile of homes.

The version the Senate passed would allow only the state to regulate how geothermal plants operate unless that power is delegated to the counties.