There seems to be no news coverage of the bones excavated from the
new Kapalua timeshare job site (The Maui 10, Feb. 8, 2007). Remembering
the Honolulu Wal-Mart flack, I wonder why this isn’t newsworthy. The
Ritz, I’m told, is moving its swimming pool area closer to the ocean.
This is nearer the area where hundreds of bodies were exhumed in the
past, and cause of much turmoil with the local community. The locals
aren’t going to sit around while corporations try to slide their plans
over anyone’s dead body!
-Wayne Cochran, Lahaina
BLUE EARTH RESPONDS
In response to Mr. Lance Holter’s [letter to the editor] in the Maui
Time Weekly of March 1, 2007, BlueEarth Biofuels takes Mr. Holter’s
concerns very seriously and he might be surprised to know that we agree
with much of what he says.
BlueEarth Biofuels has from the beginning been committed to
encouraging locally produced oil crops for refining to biodiesel as
soon as it becomes available and will use palm, canola or soybean oil
from sustainable sources until local crops can be grown here as a
Our biodiesel sales agreement with Maui Electric Company will
specify that all biodiesel they receive come from feedstocks grown on
To ensure that these oils are sourced from sustainable and
non-deforested lands, we are developing a sourcing model in conjunction
with a prominent international natural resources watch group. The first
step in this process is defining exactly what “sustainable” palm oil
Once this definition is developed, made public and approved by our
major customer, MECO, the policy will be specified to our vegetable oil
suppliers. Our palm oil suppliers will be required to show a clear,
auditable trail to the lands where the feedstock was produced, to
ensure that BlueEarth complies with the terms of our sales agreement
with Maui Electric.
In this way, vegetable oils will be fully traceable to their source
of origin. If palm oil from non-deforested and sustainable agriculture
is ultimately not attainable or available, soybean and canola oils will
alternately be used from North and South America, until locally grown
agricultural feedstock becomes available.
It has been well publicized that a Biofuels Trust will be organized
as an integral part of the plan for the Maui biodiesel refinery and
will be funded by HECO’s share of the project profits. The
purpose of the Biofuels Trust is to encourage locally produced
feedstocks for biofuels. Funding could be provided for bio-crop
research and development at the University of Hawai`i, provide price
supports for Hawaiian grown bio-crops, and for development of
non-profit crushing facilities for use by local oil crop farmers among
The board of the Biofuels Trust will have representatives from the
State of Hawai`i, HECO/MECO and local agriculture. In short, the public
will be well represented. In turn, the Biofuels Trust will be
represented on the board of directors of the project company, BlueEarth
Maui Biodiesel. It is worth reiterating, HECO will not realize any
profit from this project.
With the development of the biodiesel facility on Maui, a ready
market for locally produced oils will finally be available. At
present no such market exists to encourage local farmers to risk
planting oil crops. It may take three to six years to develop Hawaiian
feedstock crops once local growers are convinced that there is a real
and viable local end-market for their bio-crops. As noted, BlueEarth is
committed to local feedstocks, as is Maui Electric Company.
Contrary to Mr. Holter’s contention, BlueEarth Biofuels has never
requested money, investment or financial assistance from the State of
Hawai`i for this project. Our project already has secured conditional
financing approval from two large lending institutions. Because our
unique “open-book” biodiesel pricing structure passes all production
cost savings directly to Maui Electric (and ultimately the rate payer),
we are seeking lower interest rate bonds for the project in the form of
Hawai`i Special Revenue Bonds.
Although the State of Hawai`i must approve these Special Revenue
Bonds, the state is not providing any funding or investment to our
project and neither the taxpayer nor the state must repay this debt
financing which BlueEarth secures directly through the private bond
Biodiesel has the potential to greatly reduce greenhouse gas output
emissions in combustion engines (as compared to petroleum diesel) by
more than 50 percent. These significant positive air quality
improvements can only be realized in the near-term, and at an
economically viable price, via a locally situated, state-of-the art,
efficient, large scale privately funded biodiesel facility such as this
project will provide on Maui.
Waiting for local agricultural businesses to unilaterally risk
developing substantial bio-crops before adequate biofuels production
capabilities are online seems unreasonable. This project provides for a
cleaner environment, responsible feedstock sourcing, totally
transparent biodiesel pricing at capped profits, high-paying local
jobs, a privately funded local agricultural bio-crop stimulus
mechanism, and a much clearer path to Hawaiian petroleum independence…
all within a few years.
Finally, in announcing the project, we said that BlueEarth will work
diligently with other local biodiesel and ethanol producers to
encourage increased local biofuels production, greater efficiency and
Potentially, shared raw materials purchasing, joint land use, and
using locally produced ethanol and methanol in our own process are a
few of the ways we can further stimulate the local biofuels industry.
We said then and we say now this is intended to be a win-win for Maui, Hawai`i and our company.
– Landis Maez and Robert Wellington, Managing Partners, BlueEarth Biofuels LLC
Maui Time welcomes letters
commenting on our coverage, but only if they’re complimentary. If you
still wish to complain about something, please have the decency to use
plenty of bad punctuation and grammar—that makes it easier for us to
make fun of you when we respond. We also reserve the right to edit your
letters. Send your letters to the editor via e-mail
(firstname.lastname@example.org), regular mail (Letters to the Editor, Maui Time
Weekly, 33 N. Market St., Ste. 201, Wailuku, HI 96793-1742) or fax
(808-244-0446). All correspondence must include your full name,
hometown and phone number.