The impact of geothermal development on the State of Hawaii : executive summary

Date
1980-06
Authors
Siegel, Barbara Z.
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Publisher
University of Hawaii at Manoa
Abstract
"Many of the questions regarding the sociological, legal, environmental and geological concern can be satisfactorily answered, at least with regard to Hawaii's sole well in Puna. Major social changes, environmental degradation, legal and economic constraints, seismicity, subsidence, changes in volcanic activity, accidents, and ground water contamination do not seem to be major problems at this time and with the present state of development. However, site-specific studies must be incorporated in all subsequent geothermal investigations at other potential sites, since a single small intermittently operating well does not provide sufficient data for wide extrapolation. Furthermore the social and physicai environment is so unique in Hawaii that new words are often required to describe its characteristics (e.g., the "aloha spirit", "the ohana working together", the fields of "aa" and "pahoehoe", the "damn mainland haoles" who do not know that they are "malihinis" and pretend at being "kamaaina" etc.) In fact much of Hawaii's richness in flora, fauna, rare geological formations and life styles is barely understood, or even described. Therefore, much background and description have gone into preparing our concerns and recommendations so that we can convince the readers of the fragile and ephemeral modes of existence - plant, animal, rock and human spirit - which exist here in our Island Paradise. This is not to say the the very rich geothermal potential which lies under our feet should not be developed, for the need for energy becomes more insistent each day, but rather that geothermal development in Hawaii must proceed with planning, deliberation, community involvement, and with an awareness of all the costs and all the benefits. Many questions concern changes that can only be assessed with time. Continued and long-duration testing of the existing well is needed, not just for environmental and social impact assessment, but for reservoir engineering and development plans as well. But it must be stressed that the limited data available can hardly be extrapolated to a large generating facility with numerous wells, heavy production, and long periods of operations; nor can the information gained in Puna from only one well be readily applied to other potential geothermal sites in the State. We have garnered these concerns and recommendations from several workships and many meetings we have attended. We attempted to contact as many concerned citizens as possible -- students from high schools, home-makers, scientists, political figures, social leaders, farmers, developers, retirees, shop keepers and itinerant laborers. Their opinions, ideas and information have all gone into preparing these reports."
Description
Keywords
environmental, impacts, legal, socioeconomics, history, geology, meteorology, plants, Hawaii Island, hazards, Hawaii Geothermal Project, Puna, Kilauea, Big Island, Hawaii
Citation
Siegel BZ. 1980. The impact of geothermal development on the State of Hawaii : executive summary. Honolulu (HI): University of Hawaii at Manoa.
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