Three Active Legal Fronts
Na Pua Makani Bat Case
The Supreme Court of Hawaii has accepted our case and approved transfer from the Intermediate Court of Appeals
General details of the case are stated below. Legal Docs are here.
The massive turbines should never have been built so close to Kahuku.
New Research for Hawaiian Petrel (Kawailoa Agreement)
Kawailoa Wind, LLC (Kawailoa) and Keep the North Shore Country (KNSC) have agreed to collaborate on an environmental research plan for the Kawailoa Wind Project (the Project) on the north shore of O`ahu. The plan will enhance the existing knowledge of endangered species on O`ahu by funding research for the `ua`u (Hawaiian petrel) and modify the search area for monitoring turbine impacts to the `ōpe`ape`a (Hawaiian hoary bat) and other endangered species.
Kawailoa, who operates 30 wind turbines in the hills above Waimea Bay, requested an amendment to its habitat conservation plan (HCP) and incidental take license due to the unexpectedly higher take of `ōpe`ape`a at the project and discovery of two `ua`u fatalities, a species not previously covered by the plan.
KNSC, a community based environmental organization, objected to the proposed HCP amendment and was granted a contested case hearing by the Board of Land and Natural Resources. Both parties have agreed to the enhanced research plan as settlement for the contested case. Kawailoa has agreed to fund $250,000 for `ua`u research on O`ahu and to increase the search radius around each turbine for two years.
Both parties appreciate the respect and good faith exhibited by each side during HCP amendment process and subsequent constructive settlement discussions, and both parties leave on good terms.
Na Pua Makani Turbine Setbacks
KNSC and Kahuku Community Association have appealed to the First Circuit Court the Honolulu Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) dismissal of a contested case and the Department of Planning and Permitting's (DPP) decision to allow two turbines to be constructed within the minimum property setback.
The ZBA said they had no alternative because we missed a 30-day deadline to object. We could never have objected on time because there was no public notification of the decision and we never realized the city might quietly approve illegal setbacks.
We learned about these decisions in December 2019 and, with Kahuku Community Association, requested a contested case. The City approved construction of 568' tall turbines as close as 275' from a property line, even though the law requires a minimum setback of one foot for every foot of height.
We may now appeal to the courts for relief. The basic questions, did the City violate the law and what should be done to correct the violation, are yet to be answered.
Na Pua Makani is proceding with plans to construct eight new wind turbines near Kahuku High and Intermediate School, the tip of each blade reaching 568' into the sky. By comparison, the existing wind turbines in Kahuku are 420' tall. We are concerned about the likely adverse impact on the endangered opeapea, Hawaiian hoary bat.
Keep the North Shore Country has objected to this HCP because critical information was not properly considered in its preparation. Key elements such as the change in turbine height from 427' to 656' (now 568'), relevant data from the Kawailoa Wind project, and certain operational restrictions were overlooked.
The HCP is needed because the wind turbines are expected to kill endangered species like the opeapea (Hawaiian hoary bat). The developer must apply for an Incidental Take License and this is done by developing a viable Habitat Conservation Plan that will provide a net benefit to endangered species.
After a thorough investigation of the facts in a contested case, the Hearing Officer agreed with us that NPM has not satisfied the requirements of Hawaii Environmental Law; she recommend that the HCP be denied. Unfortunately, the BLNR disregarded this recommendation and granted it, instead.
Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey Crabtree heard oral arguments on December 5, 2018, and then affirmed BLNR's decision on April 10, 2019, granting deference to the agency's decision.
We believe the circuit court and BLNR got it wrong, so we are asking the Supreme Court to review the facts and decisions.
Several years ago, we lost the Turtle Bay Resort EIS case in the lower courts, only to prevail at the Supreme Court. We will continue to fight with the most vigorous case we can bring.
Please help Keep the North Shore Country meet the expenses of pursuing a vigorous presentation of the facts in this case. Expenses include legal fees, discovery, expert depositions, extensive copying fees, etc.
Mahalo for your support!
To preserve, protect and enhance the heritage and rural character of the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii, in partnership with communities from Kaena Point to Kahaluu.
Keep the North Shore Country (KNSC), in partnership with Sierra Club, Hawaii Chapter, dozens of communities and organizations and, ultimately, Turtle Bay Resort (TBR), the State of Hawaii, the City and County of Honolulu, the US Army, the Trust for Public Land (TPL), and the North Shore Community Land Trust (NSCLT) successfully altered a massive development plan into more than 1100 acres of coastal and agricultural land conservation, preservation of Kawela Bay and improved environmental stewardship at Kahuku Point.
In 2015, KNSC negotiated a settlement with TBR, whereby the resort would complete the conservation agreement, provide $200,000 over five years to NSCLT for conservation projects at Kahuku Point and allow KNSC first right to conservation of other valuable shoreline lands owned by the resort.
We continue to work with the other parties to increase land conservation and to follow our mission: To preserve and enhance the heritage and rural character of the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii, in partnership with communities from Kaena Point to Kahaluu.
© 2017 by Keep the North Shore Country