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Environmental compliance is good business
When it comes to protecting the environment and ensuring public safety, Hawaiian Electric believes it is good business to go beyond minimum requirements for training, technology and equipment. Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light are continually working to improve our processes and procedures to achieve environmental excellence.
More than thirty environmental professionals, including scientists, engineers, chemists, and a wildlife biologist work full-time at our companies to make sure that employees and outside contractors understand and meet all applicable environmental laws, regulations, permitting requirements and procedures regarding air and water quality, noise control, hazardous materials, and protected species.
Environmental training ensures protection
Hawaiian Electric's Environmental professionals oversee an environmental training program for hundreds of employees, who in turn have invested thousands of hours learning about air quality requirements, spill prevention control and countermeasures, storm water runoff, and proper handling and disposal of hazardous materials, as well as protected species concerns. Compliance with environmental regulations is a job requirement for all employees.
Although Hawaiian Electric takes great care to operate and maintain its facilities to avoid environmental problems, our company is prepared to meet its responsibilities in the event of emergencies. As one example, our companies conduct annual exercises with the State, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Clean Islands Council, often mobilizing over a hundred employees at a time, to train for emergency scenarios involving oil spills.
Addressing climate change impacts
One area of responsibility is greenhouse gas issues. In 2007, the Hawaiian Electric Companies adopted a global warming policy and has since annually published a Corporate Sustainability Report to inform stakeholders on what the utilities are doing to protect the environment.
Since 2006, Hawaiian Electric voluntarily participated in the Carbon Disclosure Project, an independent not-for-profit organization that operates a global climate change reporting system.
Also, until 2009, Hawaiian Electric voluntarily reported its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration as part of our participation in the Voluntary Reporting of Greenhouse Gases 1605 (b) program. Beginning with 2010 data, our companies have been reporting our GHG emissions under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's mandatory GHG emission reporting regulations.
Fish monitoring program
As part of Hawaiian Electric's Campbell Industrial Park Generating Station Community Benefits Program, our company reinstated a fish monitoring program along the Leeward Coast of Oahu to track changes in fish communities and populations.
West Oahu air quality monitoring
Also a part of the Community Benefits Program, in 2009, Hawaiian Electric installed three air quality monitoring stations at Waianae, Lualualei, and Makakilo (by Camp Timberline) to measure the daily air quality index or AQI in the West Oahu area. Data collected from the monitors have consistently shown the air quality in the West Oahu area has been very clean, much better than the air quality standards. A companion website, www.westoahuair.com, includes details on area temperature, recent rainfall, and wind speed and direction.
Get the drift and bag it!
For more than 25 years, Hawaiian Electric has participated in the Ocean Conservancy's annual International Coastal Cleanup by collecting marine debris along the one-mile stretch of shoreline fronting the Kahe Power Plant. Led by Hawaiian Electric's Environmental group, about 100 employees, retirees and their families return year after year in support of the effort to keep Hawaii's beaches clean and give back to the Leeward community impacted by utility operations.
Protected Species Program
To ensure the protection of Hawaii’s endangered and threatened species including sea birds, bats, snails, plants and other species, the Hawaiian Electric companies have been involved in numerous efforts on Oahu, Maui and Hawaii Island under the guidance of a full-time wildlife biologist. From conducting annual seabird awareness and training for employees to refining operational procedures, developing infrastructure guidelines and protocols, and partnering with nonprofit, private and government organizations, the companies have taken a voluntary, proactive approach to protecting Hawaii’s endemic flora and fauna while ensuring reliable electric service for our customers.