On the KIUC/FFP Subject

SOURCE: Ken Taylor (taylork021@hawaii.rr.com) SUBHEAD: Kauai Island Utility Coop and its members - Oh there was fear. Oh there was loathing. By Andy Parx on 27 June 2011 for Parx News Daily - (http://parxnewsdaily.blogspot.com/2011/06/while-were-on-subject.html) Image above: TVA dam in Knoxville, TN, built using eminent domain to remove local residents. From (http://knoxvilletennesseerealestateblog.com/2006/09/30/tva-does-a-policy-180/). But the when KIUC CEO David Bissell "debated" anti-FERC petition originator Adam Asquith at a packed Kapa`a Library conference room on Saturday there was mostly misdirection and stonewalling on Bissell's part- especially when we asked about the origins of KIUC's dealing with Free Flow Partners (FFP). We decided to confront Bissell as to how exactly the deal came about, quoting a Honolulu Weekly article by Joan Conrow that made pretty clear that FFP had gotten the preliminary Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) permits, set up shell corporations and then held a gun to KIUC's head forcing them to either deal with FFP to get dibs on the exclusive right to develop six water runs on Kaua`i for hydroelectric or FFP would tie up the rights indefinitely. Bissell at first denied that the permits were issued before KIUC's initial involvement (which Bissell said was last October) something documentation reveals to be a lie. But then, when we were allowed a followup question, he refused to say who exactly approached whom and how the deal was struck other than saying an unidentified intermediary brought the parties together, saying "what difference does it make?". We approached Bissell after the meeting seeking to get some answers to that matter as well as a couple of others. But Bissell as soon as we approached him as he spoke to others, quickly scurried to his car, saying he would not answer any more questions and leaving us, note pad in hand, chasing him through the library parking lot. So what is the truth? Well, according to Conrow's blog post today, the truth is that "FFP had already done the “poaching” by filing its applications for hydro projects on Kauai waterways prior to entering into a contract with KIUC." Not only does she clarify and reiterate what we suspected she was saying on Friday but she details how "it appears the circumstances that led to their union were more akin to a shotgun wedding than a love match. What’s more, it seems that “grab 'em with both hands” is FFP’s standard MO." Seems that, although FFP hasn't developed a single project as opponents have reiterated, they have scooped up hundreds of these "preliminary permits" across the country including "141 project sites covering all but a few miles of (an) 850-mile reach of the (Mississippi) river" causing FREC "to decline to issue additional permits on this stretch of river, and instead allow potential developers to advance their projects through the commission's licensing process." Another part of their scam seems to be to find existing dams without any hydro projects and get permits for exploring exclusive development. While we suggest you read Conrow's post today for all the gory details of that and other FFP mainland scams, what remains is yet another reason to distrust Bissell himself and everything that comes out of his mouth. The other questions we didn't get answered included one as to why the "members" of the co-op aren't entitled to examine full Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between KIUC and FFP which, as far as we have been able to determine by asking board members, is "confidential" for no particular reason other than it's confidential. One thing that Bissell refused to say was whether KIUC would commit to abandon the seeking of full FERC licensing, in light of the contention of late that KIUC/FFP has only obtained "preliminary permits" to look into hydroelectric projects on Kaua`i and not full "FERC licensing"- the latter of which is opposed by the state DLNR's water division chief and attorney general's office. It's particularity irksome that Bissell has claimed that, because there is no state process for hydro development, we need to follow the "FERC process" contained in a flow chart that was waved about at the dais. But he avoided commenting on why that process couldn’t be followed without FERC. Could it be that the reason why KIUC never approached the state to set up a state-based process for developing hydro was because FFP had already gotten the preliminary permits and was holding a gun to KIUC's head saying that they would hold up any hydro development indefinitely unless KIUC signed on the dotted line? That would sure explain a lot of things such as why all of a sudden without any advance notice KIUC was suddenly gung ho for hydroelectric development. It would also explain why they signed an MOA that "purchases" the permits and shell corporations but allows both to revert to FFP should KIUC change its mind, as will happen should the ballots be returned with more "no" than "yes" votes. We had prepared a question for Bissell on the off-chance that we would get a second round at the meeting along the lines of "given that almost everyone- including some board members- agrees that your communications with the public have so far been severely bungled with a lack of transparency, the 'no FERC, no hydro' threat and the refusal to release the MOA, is there anything you'd personally do differently if you had it to do over?". But after the a couple of hours of misinformation, threats, misdirection and, when necessary, stonewalling in reiterating all the past bunk we've been fed, the question seemed to have answered itself. See also: Ea O Ka Aina: Say No! to KIUC/FFP Deal 6/13/11 Ea O Ka Aina: TVA to build Nukelettes 6/22/11 .

2 comments :

  1. On reading HB 855 it is clear that far more is transpiring in the development of more hydroelectric facilities in Hawaii than either our media or our representatives are keeping us informed about:

    " ...the department of budget and finance, with the approval of the governor, is authorized to issue special purpose revenue bonds in a total amount not to exceed $25,000,000, in one or more series, for the purpose of assisting Pacific Power and Water Company, Inc., with the planning, permitting, designing, constructing, equipping, and operating of hydropower plants at locations throughout Hawaii. ..."

    See more of House Bill 855 at http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2011/Bills/HB855_SD1_.HTM

    Posted by River Riim

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