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Plan rejected to grow trees on DHHL land for green energy

By Star-Advertiser Staff

LAST UPDATED: 3:28 p.m. HST, Jun 28, 2013

The Hawaiian Homes Commission today rejected a proposal to lease 2,134 acres of Hawaiian home lands to grow trees for a renewable energy project.

The 5-3 vote came after two days of public feedback on the project, with 80 percent of testimony opposing the project proposed by Green Energy Team LLC, according to a news relase from the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.

"While there were merits to the project, there were also a number of concerns that remained unresolved. I am encouraged that several in the Anahola community wanted a chance to be a part of the ultimate goal of getting these lands ready for homesteading,” said Jobie Masagatani, chairwoman of the Hawaiian Homes Commission, and DHHL director.

“They want a chance to have their voices heard," "We look forward to working closely with the people of Anahola to explore ideas on the future use of these lands," she said in a prepared statement.

 As proposed, the 20-year lease would have allowed Green Energy to clear existing albizia trees from DHHL's Anahola lands and establish a tree plantation to fuel Green Energy's planned $90 million biomass-to-energy facility in Koloa.

In return, DHHL would have received monetary and other benefits, including improvements to Anahola lands.

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