"Proposed wind farm site named 'endangered historic' area" --The Maui News, November 14, 2011
Lanai City, Hawaii - The Historic Hawaii Foundation has named the proposed site of a massive wind farm one of the states "most endangered historic places". Hundreds of archaeological and cultural sites have been identified there.
Advocates for historic preservation said the 20,000-acre Ka'a ahupua'a is significant in Native Hawaiian cultural practices, stories and history. Community members were concerned that Castle & Cooke's proposal to develop a 170-turbine wind farm in the area could disrupt the "cultural landscape" and change the experience of being in the area, said Historic Hawaii Foundation Executive Director Kiersten Faulkner.
Faulkner hopes that by having the site on the most endangered list it will help to open a dialogue between her organization and the energy company that would meet the need for renewable energy while respecting the cultural resources.
In ancient times, Ka'a had several coastal settlements, the largest heiau on the island and an extensive agricultural system in upland areas. It also was noted for its fisheries, including an ancient turtle fishery. There also are numerous stories about the area's mythological significance, including accounts of interactions between deities and human beings.
In modern times, ranching, goats, deer, and sheep have left the area eroded and windswept. The area has been called a "barren, arid wasteland" by the Hawaiian Electric Co. and the wind farm developer, Castle & Cooke.
This is no reason for the companies to do whatever they please to the land. A wind farm can exist there as long as the construction and placement of the windmills does little to no harm to the cultural resources. I don't think that the placement of the windmills can avoid damaging the visual significance of the site to indigenous people in the area. However, a balance can be achieved, I believe. It'll be interesting to see how this turns out.
There are also problems that have to be address with failure of the windmills. Windmills can fail spectacularly when they do. The massive blades could gauge the landscape and destroy undiscovered features.
[Side note. Squarespace is pissing me off. When I notice a mistake IMMEDIATELY, and then fix it, Squarespace sends both the initial entry and the modified entry to several RSS readers. The result is that you see them twice. Sorry about that.]