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Public Input Sought on Maui Wind Projects, May 22

Auwahi Wind, file courtesy photo.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking public comment concerning wind farm projects on Maui and throughout the State of Hawaiʻi.

The Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement will factor in public comments to address the potential direct, indirect and cumulative effects of operations and maintenance activities of four wind energy projects on three endangered species. The draft PEIS and associated habitat conservation plans will be available for public comment from April 26, 2019 to June 10, 2019.

Auwahi Wind and Kaheawa Wind Power II projects on Maui, Pakini Nui Wind Farm on the Island of Hawaiʻi, and the Kawailoa Wind Power project on Oʻahu have applied to the Service for an incidental take permit or permit amendment under the Endangered Species Act.

Due to similarities in the geography, impact, covered species and proposed mitigation measures among these four wind energy projects the Service has determined that a combined PEIS is the most efficient and comprehensive approach for considering the cumulative impacts of these actions on the human environment.

The proposed permit and permit amendments would address concerns for the endangered ʻōpeʻapeʻa (Hawaiian hoary bat), nēnē (Hawaiian goose) and ʻuaʻu (Hawaiian petrel). The four wind projects have prepared a draft Habitat Conservation Plan (Pakini Nui) or amended Habitat Conservation Plans (Kaheawa Wind Phase II, Auwahi, and Kawailoa) designed to minimize and mitigate impacts to these species.

The Service will hold three public meetings, one each on the islands of Maui, Hawaiʻi and Oʻahu. The dates for the meetings are:

Maui

Wednesday, May 22, 2019, from 6 to 8 p.m.
Kula Elementary School
5000 Kula Hwy, Kula

Oʻahu

Tuesday, May 21, 2019, from 6 to 8 p.m.
Waialua Elementary School
67-020 Waialua Beach Rd, Waialua

Hawaiʻi Island

Thursday, May 23, 2019, from 6 to 8 p.m.
Naʻalehu Community Center
95-5635 Mamalahoa Hwy, Naʻalehu

Habitat Conservation Plans are voluntary agreements between the Service and a landowner, private company or non-federal agency that ensure harmful effects to threatened and endangered species are minimized or offset. The Service regularly engages conservation partners, the public, landowners, government agencies and other stakeholders in our ongoing effort to identify innovative strategies for conserving and recovering species while supporting important economic and energy initiatives.

To request additional information or submit written comments, please use one of the following methods. Please include “Wind Energy HCPs and PEIS” and reference FWS–R1–ES–2019–N032 in the subject line of your request, message or comment:

The Service will consider all written or verbal comments on the draft PEIS and the draft and amended HCPs that are received or postmarked by June 10. All comments and materials received become part of the public record associated with this action. Before including an address, phone number or other personal identifying information in comments, the public should be aware that the entire comment—including personal identifying information—might be made publicly available at any time.

More information, including the draft PEIS, amended HCPs and mitigation plans, can be found at http://www.fws.gov/pacificislands/  [2].