North Shore nonprofit group plans to sue AES for lack of permits

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HONOLULU (KHON2) — A North Shore non-profit group plans to sue AES, the company building the Na Pua Makani wind farm in Kahuku.

The lawsuit states the company failed to obtain all the necessary permits.

Keep the North Shore Country sent AES the letter on Friday and provides a 40-day letter of intent.

Gil Riviere, who is the director of the nonprofit group Keep the North Shore Country and also State Senator in the Kahuku district, said the group was objecting to the creation of the guard shack, fencing around the entrance and additional roads that were built on ag lands.

“All of that was outside the EIS process and without proper permitting,” he said. “They’re adding elements to their project that they should have reasonably known would occur or be needed.”

As State Senator, Riviere (D) Kaneohe, Hauula, Kahuku, asked AES to consider not delivering equipment on Sunday following a tense Thursday night in Kalaeloa between police and those who oppose the wind project.

“I’m asking AES to consider a voluntary night of no delivery, to take a cooling-off period to allow both sides to kind of regroup and get back on a peaceful track,” he said.

AES has a permit to transport equipment from Kalaeloa to Kahuku until November 26.

KHON2 reached out to AES to see if they would consider taking a night off but have not yet heard back.

KHON2 was invited onto one of the 24 farm lots that sit near where the turbines are being constructed.

“We were planning on building a home here because I want to teach children to farm, farmers are very, very important,” said farmer Chai Yoshimura. Her lot sits empty because now she says she worries about her grandchildren’s health.

“Four of them are supposed to live here and four others already live in Kahuku near the school,” she said.

She points out the sound the current turbines make in the distance.

“It sounds like an airplane, just a continuous airplane flying in circles,” she noted.

“The sound is not as bad but the infrasound which is what I truly worry about,” she said.

AES has maintained the wind turbines will have no health effects.

In a statement obtained Friday, Nov. 15, from AES, Verla Moore, community liaison for AES Na Pua Makani said:

 “We respect the protesters’ right to voice their opinions about the project and act in Kapu Aloha. We take our commitment seriously to answer their questions, address their concerns and find the most meaningful way to give back to the community.”

In a statement obtained on Sunday, Nov. 17 from AES, Mark Miller, Chief Operating Officer for the AES US Generation businesses said:

“We are reviewing the letter from the Keep the North Shore Country’s attorney and will respond in due course.

After performing extensive studies and securing all of the necessary permits, we are confident that we are building a project that is safe and, ultimately, will help advance Hawaii’s transition to 100% renewable energy.”

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