Puna Geothermal: after the lava

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Dear Mayor Kim,

After the lava danger subsides, please DO NOT allow Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) to re-start.


And please DO ensure that PGV cleans up and restores the land to the greatest extent possible.


PGV poses too many threats:



PGV had 60,000 gallons of highly flammable, toxic pentane. It was not moved out of harm’s way

until citizens protested and the governor stepped in.


August 2013: The Environmental Protection Agency found problems with storage, use, and handling of pentane



June 1991: a blowout released over 2,000 pounds of hydrogen sulfide, killing animals and forcing 75 neighbors to evacuate. It took four months to control the problem well.


November 1992: facing a near-blowout, harried operators parked two D-9 tractors on top of a well to hold it down.


Hydrogen sulfide releases

August 1992, August 2005, November 2011, April 2013: unplanned releases


August 2014: during Tropical Storm Iselle, hydrogen sulfide leaked, but neighbors were trapped by downed trees that blocked roads and high winds that made travel dangerous. Loss of consciousness, lethargy, nausea, and headaches were reported by over 100 people.


May 2018: lava overrunning PGV, or moving underground, may cause uncontrollable hydrogen sulfide releases dispersing for miles



2012 and 2014: PGV did noisy drilling that disturbed people and animals. At one point, 24-hour drilling went on for over a month.


“Walk-away” plans?

            After True Geothermal closed down, taxpayers paid to plug the well.


“…in the state of Hawaii's business registration website…the stated owners for Puna Geothermal are…“Orni8 LLC and OrPuna LLC.” It is clear they are designed to protect Ormat's assets from liability.

PGV does not own the power plant that they are operating in Puna. Ormat's 2011 10K report states that,”Pursuant to a 31-year head lease, PGV leased its geothermal power plant to an unrelated company in return for prepaid lease payments in the total amount of $83.0 million. The unrelated company simultaneously leased back the Puna Power Plant to PGV under a 23-year lease.

This means in the event of a catastrophic accident or liability for toxic releases, PGV would have no assets to garner, and Ormat is protected by LLC’s.”

Petition by Paul Kuykendall,