Tell US Department of Energy, US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, and State of Hawaii: No Electric Cables through the Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary
Humpback Whales, federally-endangered Hawaiian Monk Seals, and Hawaii’s world-famous Molokai Reef are endangered by a proposed multi-billion dollar interisland undersea electric cable that would be constructed through the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. The US Department of Energy is now preparing a Preliminary Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) to evaluate the impacts of this project.
The first Humpbacks arrived this year in the Sanctuary on August 31, two months ahead of their normal November appearance. Thousands more will travel here to mate, give birth, and nurse their young before they leave in late May. The Humpback Whale is the fifth largest whale in the world and the fourth most endangered.
Also protected in the Sanctuary are the critically endangered Hawaiian Monk Seals – one of the world’s rarest marine mammals – as well as five species of sea turtles, three species of dolphins, and hundreds of other marine plants and animals.
The cable would also be built through the magnificent Molokai Reef, the largest and most pristine coral reef north of Australia. Coral reefs occur in only 2% of the world’s oceans and have a diversity of life that is second only to that of a tropical rain forest. The Reef is inside the National Marine Sanctuary boundaries.
Without evaluating the environmental and cultural impacts of the cable, and in haste to meet Hawaii’s badly-planned Clean Energy Initiative (HCEI), the Hawaii Legislature passed a bill establishing the framework for an interisland undersea cable which would connect the islands of Hawaii, Oahu, Maui, Molokai and Lanai. Specifically ignored is the fact that the National Marine Sanctuary Program lists “Any Alteration of Seabed” as a Prohibited Activity in the Whale Sanctuary.
In the center of the Sanctuary are the islands of Molokai and Lanai, and the Molokai Reef runs between these two rural Hawaiian island paradises. These waters have been socially, economically and culturally important to Native Hawaiians for generations, and will be so for many future generations. Lanai and Molokai residents overwhelmingly oppose the construction of this cable.
Please join me in requesting that the US Department of Energy, US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, and the State of Hawaii remove from the Hawai‘i Interisland Renewable Energy Program: Wind PEIS and the Hawai`i Clean Energy PEIS, any consideration of electrical cables through the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.
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