Nhsc-v1-259

From GrassrootWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Previous Page Next Page

nhsc-v1-259

Text Only

tenant rights. 49/ Disputes over water rights can be resolved in a proceeding in State courts, according to procedures set out in Hawaiian statutes. 50/


Geothermal and Mineral Rights

The only Hawaiian State statutes relating to minerals are a strip mining law and a law providing for mineral leases on State-owned land. At least some of the patents that were issued by the kingdom of Hawaii retained the mineral rights in the government and these mineral rights are today owned by the State of Hawaii.

No State statute mentions geothermal development or geothermal rights. Native Hawaiians do appear to be concerned about geothermal development sociologically, however. The Puna Hui Ohana, an organization of the Puna Hawaiian community, has uindertaken an extensive assessment of the potential social and cultural impact of geothermal development on the "aboriginal" Hawaiians of Lower Puna on the island of Hawaii. 51/ The report states:

Early Hawaiians used the steam emanating from fissures along the rift zone for cooking and geothermally heated water ponds for bathing. Though exploratory drilling had begun in the 1960's in Puna, the first successful well wasn't discovered until 1976. Designated HGP-A (Hawaii Geothermal Project-Abbott), the well was one of the hottest in the world (675°), high pressured (555 psi), and relatively chemically benign. The successful well represented a new era of alternative energy for the State of Hawaii. For the community of Puna, the geothermal success introduced a developmental element for which it had not been prepared. 52/

The report evaluates a survey of attitudes among Lower Puna's native Hawaiian leaders. These leaders felt that the development of geothermal resources in the area would increase the in-migration to the area and result in major cultural changes. It was felt that socio-economic impacts of a growing Caucasian population would increase during geothermal development. Respondents felt that Caucasians would control the economic benefits of geothermal development, and that, unless native Hawaiians "help themselves or develop fruitful relationships with the developer, Hawaiians' benefits will be very limited at best." 53/

Other concerns included changes in interpersonal relationships, changes in the apparent transfer of political and social power from the local Japanese political establishment to the Caucasians, and a possible effect on native Hawaiians' relationship to nature, to people, and to the supernatural. Finally, native Hawaiian leaders and elders of Lower Puna believed that population and economic growth in connection with geothermal development continues to be a serious threat to the preservation of the native Hawaiian culture as it exists in Lower Puna. They "also believe that the culture can be preserved if families will learn the concepts well and pass it on to their descendants." 54/

Despite distrust of geothermal, development, however, the community seems to have approved it with strong reservations. Of special concern is the manner in which surplus energy is used. The study concludes that "continued dialogue between newcomers and long time residents may promote a better understanding of

-p259-

Previous Page Next Page