Earthjustice sues state for failing to require impact statement on Kauai energy project

Kauai, Hawaii
Kauai, Hawaii(Hawaii News Now Graphic Library)
Published: Feb. 7, 2023 at 7:46 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A conservation coalition is suing the state on behalf of Kauai farmers and fishers.

They claim the state Department of Land and Natural Resources was wrong not to require an Environmental Impact Statement for a proposed hydroelectric project along the Waimea River.

The project would take approximately 11 million gallons a day — on average — from the river for 65 years.

The Ige administration gave the project a pass on their way out the door, not requiring a full environmental impact study.

The suit raises many concerns but the most arresting concern is the idea of runoff picking up decades of pesticides and putting it into nearshore waters.

Meanwhile, the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative said an impact statement was not needed because previous research covered some of the things a full environmental assessment would cover.

They added DLNR found the project would not have a significant effect on the environment.

The utility said it also signed a mediation agreement with numerous agencies and community groups, allowing it to divert about 11 million gallons of water per day as it tries to meet the state’s clean energy mandate.