Mina Morita is resigning from her position on the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission, Gov. David Ige’s office recently announced.

After noting “many in the energy industry had applauded [then-Governor Neil] Abercrombie’s appointment of Morita, who is known as a strong advocate and expert on clean energy,” Pacific Business News wrote:

 “But some questioned her leadership in a PUC decision denying the Aina Koa Pono project’s 20-year Big Island biofuel supply contract with Hawaii Electric Light Co.”

I just can’t let that slide. Who’s that questioning her leadership? Who thought Aina Koa Pono was a good decision for Big Island rate payers? Certainly not anybody here on the Big Island.

Mina Morita, Nainoa Thompson

Outgoing Public Utilities Commission chair Mina Morita speaks at an energy conference, 2014.

PF Bentley/Civil Beat

If Aina Koa Pono had been approved by the PUC, we Big Island rate payers would have been saddled with subsidizing AKP to the tune of $175/barrel of oil by 2015 — this year. Today, oil costs less than $50/barrel. We would have been subsidizing the difference through our bills. We would have been screaming every month when we saw our electric bills.

Here’s what I wrote about this back in 2012. I saw the potential for disaster back then, and so did Mina Morita.

It’s because of her Aina Koa Pono didn’t succeed and this didn’t happen.

We in the Big Island Community Coalition applaud her leadership. We do not question her leadership in the slightest, and we regret that she is resigning.

This is also a good time to review my blog post The Legend of the Horse That Was Really a Unicorn.

It is solely because of Mina Morita’s leadership that the Aina Koa Pono project didn’t go through, and that is a good thing. That’s true leadership.

Community Voices aims to encourage broad discussion on many topics of community interest. It’s kind of a cross between Letters to the Editor and op-eds. This is your space to talk about important issues or interesting people who are making a difference in our world. Column lengths should be no more than 800 words and we need a current photo of the author and a bio. We welcome video commentary and other multimedia formats. Send to news@civilbeat.org. The opinions and information expressed in Community Voices are solely those of the authors and not Civil Beat.