News Release from Hu Honua
Pepeekeo, HI—June 18, 2013—Hu Honua Bioenergy (HHB) is reconstructing the former sugar mill power plant at Pepeekeo into a modern biomass electricity generation station. The new construction at the facility is being performed under a Project Labor Agreement with various craft unions.
The general contractor for reconstruction of the HHB facility, Hawaiian Dredging Construction Company (HDCC), has been informed of a labor jurisdiction decision involving two craft unions and is awaiting official written notice. The unions involved are United Association of Journeymen & Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry (Pipefitters) and the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Shipbuilders, Blacksmiths, Forgers & Helpers, AFL-CIO (IBB). Dozens of workers are affected. Once a final determination is made HHB understands that new workers may be assigned from a different union. The duration of this transition has yet to be determined.
This development is the result of process between the two unions and conducted with the Washington D.C.-based Plan for the Settlement of Jurisdictional Disputes in the Construction Industry (jurisdiction body.)
HHB personnel are not affected by this decision, and all —about two dozen—continue to work on oversight, planning, maintenance, and security at the site.
HHB is reconstructing the old sugar mill power plant into a modern biomass electricity generation facility. HHB has a signed power purchase agreement with Hawaii Electric Light Co. The utility has submitted a request for PUC approval and the PUC process has been underway for about 10 months. PUC approval is necessary before the plant can deliver power to the utility.
Rumors had been circulating for the last couple of weeks that the construction company had pulled its workers off the site as a result of failure to be paid....
Meanwhile, the failure of the Environmental Protection Agency to respond to a request for a hearing over its blessing of a permit for the plant to operate is the subject of a federal lawsuit. Under a consent agreement, the EPA is to decide that issue by August 7. In state Circuit Court, neighbors of the plant are challenging the Special Management Area permit for the plant approved by the Hawaii County Windward Planning Commission....
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