Friday, June 29, 2007

Protest at $59m bond issue for Hawaiian biodiesel plant


Posted by Bill Bradshaw
Tuesday, 26 June 2007

The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance have called for the veto of a
government bill for a $59 million bond issue in support of the HECO/Blue
Earth proposed mega-biodiesel plant on Hawai'i. Despite testifying to
the legislature that the plant would not utilize imported palm oil,
project proponents are now admitting that their operations will be based
on imported palm oil.

"We are adamantly opposed to SB 1718 CD1 and the import of palm oil
which will negatively impact indigenous peoples," said Vicky Holt
Takamine, President of `Ilio`ulaokalani Coalition. " In our attempt to
provide a sustainable fuel source for Hawai'i, we cannot at the same
time destroy another native people's environment and way of life for our
benefit," she added. "We urge you to veto this bill and stand with us to
protect the rights of native peoples and their environment."

According to the `Ilio`ulaokalani Coalition, HECO have now unveiled
plans to import palm oil and released "sustainability criteria" for
their proposed imports. According to Dr. Marcus Colchester, a palm oil
expert with decades of experience in Indonesia who reviewed the HECO
document, the sustainability criteria proposed by HECO for oil palm
imports are "much less than required for full compliance" with the
criteria developed by the industry-heavy international Roundtable on
Sustainable Palm Oil. The RSPO has spent years developing criteria in
consultation with civil society organizations. The HECO proposal even
eliminates the core criterion required by indigenous and forest
communities and recognized by the companies negotiating the RSPO process
as a basic requirement for sustainability standards: the recognition of
customary rights and the requirement for free prior informed consent of
indigenous and other peoples before their lands are utilized for oil
palm cultivation.
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