Panel approves study on geothermal and Native Hawaiians - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Panel approves study on geothermal and Native Hawaiians

HILO, Hawaii (AP) - A Hawaii County panel is allocating nearly $300,000 to study how geothermal energy development affects Native Hawaiians.

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports the Windward Planning Commission approved the money in two 4-0 votes Thursday.

The commission acted in response to a request from critics who say the state's indigenous population has been ignored during discussions about geothermal energy.

The money will come from the county's geothermal asset fund.

Several speakers testified before the panel that the tapping of underground heat sources has a real impact on Native Hawaiian culture and religious practices, which revere the volcano goddess Pele.

Commissioner Charles Heaukulani says he supports the study without reservation. He says there's no question Hawaiians are adversely affected by geothermal.

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