Harry Kim, a former two-term Hawaii County mayor who also directed the county Civil Defense Agency, said Monday that he would run for mayor.
Kim said he was motivated in part by the state’s interest in fast-tracking geothermal exploration. The state Environmental Council voted in May to exempt noninvasive geothermal exploration from environmental review but rejected an exemption for drilling after a personal appeal by Kim on behalf of Hawaii County residents concerned about health, safety and environmental protection.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed a bill into law in April that allows geothermal resources exploration and geothermal development in all state land use districts and conservation zones and eliminates geothermal subzone requirements, which the state hopes will streamline the regulatory process. The state and counties say geothermal development will help lessen the state’s reliance on imported oil.