Despite ongoing arrests, company behind wind farm project says it’s making progress

Updated: Oct. 24, 2019 at 8:35 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Police have now made at least 111 arrests at protests aimed at stopping the transport of wind turbine parts to Kahuku.

Honolulu police records show four more people were arrested late Wednesday into early Thursday as the turbine equipment was transported successfully to the North Shore.

Two appear to have been taken into custody in Kalaeloa and two in Kahuku.

Police say some protesters are attaching themselves with PVC pipe and handcuffs.

Officials with the AES Na Pua Makani wind farm say despite the arrests, the project and transport of massive turbine parts from Kalaeloa to Kahuku are still on track.

"It's a delicate balance no doubt. It's important to recognize that we are a permitted project. We have the legal rights to move forward, but we need to do that in the context of we need collaborative dialog," said Mark Miller, COO of AES US Generation Fleet.

Hawaii News Now was invited by Kahuku farmer Chai Yoshimura to her leased property across from the 700-acre wind farm project site. =

From her farm, she can see a white turbine starting to sprout above the tree line. The company says it’s building eight, 568-foot turbines as the parts are delivered. The foundation has already been laid down.

Yoshimura says she’s not on the protest front lines, but is against the wind farm because she’s concerned about health impacts of low frequency sound.

"You build it, you go home, but we have to suffer over here and I don't think that is humanly correct," she said.

But Miller said the wind farm isn’t going to “impact the community to beyond the boundaries of our project."

The company released a computer video showing the turbines once completed half of a mile from the Kahuku sports field.

The company says the turbines will be roughly 1,648 feet from the nearest Kahuku homes and 760 feet from the nearest residence on state agriculture land which they say is within city setbacks.

AES Na Pua Makani says it has beefed up security after someone used a torch before 8 a.m. Sunday to sever the head off a two foot anchor bolt and damage another. The company says that does not impact the integrity of the structure.

The convoys are expected to continue until Thanksgiving.

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