Life Of The Land (Hawai`i)

Life of the Land (1970-) Hawai`i's non-profit environmental and community action  group  public interest.

Contact: Executive Director: Henry Curtis

Assistant Executive Director: Kat Brady,

Life of the Land
76 North King Street, Suite 203
Honolulu, Hawaii  96817

Board of Directors
David Henkin - President
Art Mori
Anne Sturgis
Miwa Tamanaha
Carrie Ann Shirota



Life of the Land
Logo by Pegge Hopper

“Life of the Land is waging a vigorous fight against polluters in and out of court.”  Stewart Udall. 1970.  [U.S. Secretary of the Interior (1961-1969)]

“Direct, aggressive action based on fact. Most active environmental group in the state.”  Conservation Directory.  National Wildlife Federation. 1977.

Key leaders left mark on the state during Hawaii’s growth years.
“The effect a person can have on a place is immeasurable. Here are the 10 people or organizations who, from 1965 to 1975, helped make Hawaii what it is today”. There list contained 6 individuals and 4 organizations: The state Land Use Commission; Bishop Estate; the Labor Unions; and Life of the Land. Honolulu Star-Bulletin March 14, 1995.

”Life of the Land has become synonymous with environmental activism in Hawaii.” Honolulu Weekly. Earth Day edition. April 1996.

Quotes  re Executive Director Henry Curtis:  "a veteran of the RPS [Renewable Portfolio Standards] fight in the Legislature" and an "energy wonk" (Honolulu Weekly, November 29, 2000) "Henry Curtis of the energy-watching group Life of the Land" (Environment Hawaii, January 2001)  "a frequent HECO critic" (Pacific Business News, June 21, 2004) "closely follows and participates in Hawai'i energy issues" (Environment Hawaii, September 2004).

Life of the Land: A Brief History

... Life of the Land's
Youtube Channel

Land Use


Toxics, Pesticides, Clean-up

Genetic Engineering

Good Government


Community Alliance on Prisons

Hawaii Climate Change Blog

Hawaii Biofuels (Ethanol, Biodiesel) Blog

Hawaii Energy Blog

Hawaii Energy Self-Reliance

Palm Oil for Electricity Generation

HECO Proposed 2009 Power Plant

HECO's Biofuel Docket re 2009 Power Plant and HECO-Imperium Contract

HECO Companies 2013 Integrated Resource Planning
May 1, 2013 Presentations
Tape 1
Tape 2



Please support our work

Life of the Land is a 501(c)3
Charitable Organization.

Transcript of PUC Chair Hermina Morita and Josh Strickler
at the Hawai`i State Bar Association (HSBA) Natural Resources Section (NRS)  Meeting of July 6, 2011

Transcript of PUC Commissioner Michael Champley at the Rotary Club of Kihei-Wailea on November 23, 2011. This presentation is a good starting point for understanding current energy issues in Hawai`i

Transcript of Public Utilities Commission Open House with Scott Hempling and Maurice Kaya (March 2013)

October 28, 2008 HCEI Energy Agreement

PUC Independent Entity's Interim Status Report and Statement of Concerns (May 10, 2013) re HECO Companies 2013 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP).

Wayfinding: Navigating Hawaii's Energy Future

We are now in the middle of a technology revolution, featuring smart phones, electronic books, videocameras, the internet and blogs.

 Major changes are about to happen in the electric utility sector.

Energy policy is too important to be left to those with vested interests in short-term profit margins. We must all be engaged in energy policy at the local level where we can shape policy to suit local needs.

 The Hawai`i Electric Industries (HEI) Annual Report (2012) noted: “New technological developments, such as the commercial development of energy storage, may render the operations of HEI’s electric utility subsidiaries less competitive or outdated.”

As electric rates continue to go up and up, those who can leave the grid, will leave the grid, by building or installing on-site generation. The fixed costs associated with energy production, transmission and distribution will then have to be absorbed by the remaining (smaller) rate base. Thus, those who remain will see their rates go up even more, causing more people to opt out of a centralized grid, driving the rates for those who remain even higher. Under this scenario, companies such as HECO would be sucked down into a bottomless vortex and ultimately fail as a viable investor-owned corporation.

There will be vast changes to the electric grid in the short-run. These will likely include Smart Grids, Smart Buildings, the use of liquefied natural gas (LNG), the expansion of geothermal, and grid-based batteries such as pumped storage hydro (PSH).

In the longer-term the electric grid may become obsolete.

Energy is the glue, the connector, the life blood of all that we do. Energy powers the old economy and the new economy. Fossil fuel byproducts have become part of our life: pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, paints, plastics, detergents, ammonia, pesticides and fertilizers. The energy industry has grown into a $3 trillion/year mega-industry.

Our current energy paradigm cause enormous damage. A National Academy of Science Study report found that 20,000 people die prematurely each year from fossil fuel air pollution, and that fossil fuel health impacts in the U.S. exceed $100 billion/year. Childhood asthma is on the rise. Greenhouse gas emissions are out of control. The oceans are rising and becoming more acidic.

Energy disasters are increasing: Fukushima, BP Deepwater, Borneo peat soil wildfires, Kuwaiti Oil Fires, Exxon Valdez, Chernobyl, and Three Mile Island, among many others. The new energy and telecommunications technology rely on rare earth minerals such as coltan and neodymium. The use of these resources have their own environmental problems.

Life of the Land’s Wayfinding:  Navigating Hawai`i's Energy Future (June 2012) by Henry Curtis was written to address these vast transformations and to suggest some ways forward.

The Report examines a Distributed Generation (DG) future, focused on a decentralized, community-based model of energy self-sufficiency, utilizing local solutions. On the near horizon is the capacity to replace yesterday’s electric grid with tomorrow’s Smart Buildings, where conservation and energy efficiency will reduce demand, on-site renewable energy facilities will provide energy for buildings and electricity for vehicles, and small microgrids will be used within small communities.

The State of Hawai`i could and should generate 90% of its electricity from distributed renewable energy resources by 2030.

Some communities may focus on rapidly increasing the renewable energy penetration level on their grids. This can be done in conjunction with Smart Grid technology.

Other communities may opt for increased renewable energy in combination with the importation of liquefied natural gas (LNG) a cheaper and cleaner fossil fuel.

Still other communities could decide that, rather than waiting for the inevitable escalating rate hikes and for climate change to reach crisis levels, they should find ways of leaving the grid now.

In the transformation process, all of these communities can save money, increase the amount of revenue that stays and circulates within their local communities, while creating local jobs, and decreasing the environmental, social and cultural impacts associated with energy production, transmission and use.

Since each island has different resources and different values it only makes sound social and economic sense to design each island system differently.

Community Energy

ife of the Land’s Community Education on Energy campaign  is a multi-pronged, multi-decade drive to shift Hawai`i from its use of  fossil fuels to locally produced indigenous low-climate impact, low-environmental impact, culturally friendly renewable energy resources.

Our goal in this project is to demonstrate that central utility based generation is a 19th century model that gets in the way of true sustainability. We should instead focus of democratic cooperative approaches to ridding us of the scourge of fossil fuels. The key is local empowerment, that we as a community can shape our own future.

Life of the Land works with community groups around the state, from Ka`u, Kula, to  Kaua`i. We provide technical expertise to groups and individuals including I Aloha Molokai, and Friends of Lana`i. We are the fiscal agent for Keep Our islands Clean (Pepeekeo, Hawai`i).

During 2011 we served on the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission Reliability Standards Working Group (RSWG; Docket 2011-0206); the RSWG Minimum Load and Curtailment subgroup; spoke at the EUCI Conference on “The Future of Renewable Energy Development in Hawaii;” published “Energy Independence for Hawai`i (2030) An Integrated Approach to Economic Revitalization in a Culturally and Environmentally Sensitive Way;” successfully defeated the most expensive (on a $/kWh basis) energy project in state history (Aina Koa Pono); educated the public on the technological, financial, and reliability liabilities associated with the Big Wind (Lana`i and Moloka`i Wind

Wind Farms, Inter-island Cable) proposal; raised awareness on the Hu Honua waste-to-energy project; and participated in numerous conferences, forums and social gatherings.

Hawaii imports 90% of its food and exports 85% of its local agricultural production. Life of the Land is working on efforts to increase the local production of food for local consumption.
Sunshine, Open Government

Access to government records is key for any democracy. Currently the Governor and his Cabinet must file financial disclosure statements with the state ethics commission. These are publicly available. Other executives file statements which are not publicly available.

Life of the Land is working to also make publicly available the financial disclosure statements of key commissioners on state boards and commissions which regulate land use (Land Use Commission, Public Lands Development Corporation, Hawaii Community Development Authority, Board of Land and Natural Resources), water use (Commission on Water Resource Management) and utilities (Public Utilities Commission).


Life of the Land worked on community television productions and on efforts to protect community television and the internet from governmental interference.

The largest farm labor slavery case in the U.S. occurred in Hawai`i. Life of the Land is educating the public about the importance of understanding where our food is coming from and how the public can get involved.


Life of the Land works on a variety of environmental issues including endangered species, alien species, the state water code, toxics, coastal impacts, water quality. Life of the Land serves on the Joint Base Pearl Harbor Restoration Advisory Board.

Economic Development

Hawaii is in a recession. It is important to create jobs and protect the environment. Life of the Land participated in discussions surrounding the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings and the need to support local businesses while protecting the environment.

Cultural Impacts

Life of the Land seeks to ensure that cultural impact analyses are included in all environmental decision-making processes.