- Associated Press - Thursday, June 5, 2014

PEPEEKEO, Hawaii (AP) - The owners of the site of an electrical power plant under construction are asking a judge to dismiss them from a $35 million lien filed by the former contractor.

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Thursday (http://bit.ly/1oymjaN ) that an attorney for Maukaloa Farms LLC argues the landowner isn’t responsible for the unpaid bills of its lessee.

Hawaiian Dredging claims lessee Hu Honua Bioenergy LLC owes $35 million in unpaid construction bills. The bioenergy company has a new contractor.

An attorney for Hu Honua, Blake Bushnell, said the company supports dismissing the landowner from the lien.

Lawyers for both the contractor and the landowner disagree over a clause in the energy company’s lease and whether it required that a power plant be built.

If built, the plant would plant to generate nearly 22 megawatts of electricity.

Jessie Schiel, an attorney for Maukaloa Farms, argued there is no provision in the lease that requires a power plant to be constructed. “It can be used by any other use permitted by law,” Schiel said.

Keith Yamada, a lawyer for Hawaiian Dredging, said the lease didn’t allow for other uses of the land.

“There’s other provisions in this lease that specifically point to the fact that an electric energy power plant is going to be operated on these premises,” he said.

The 25-acre site used to house a power plant that burned a sugar cane byproduct, then later coal.

A hearing on the lien application is scheduled for next month.

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Information from: Hawaii Tribune-Herald, http://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/

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