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In re Application of Maui Electric Co., Ltd.

Hawaii Supreme Court
408 P.3d 1 (2017)


Maui Electric Co., Ltd. (applicant), filed an application asking the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to approve an agreement to buy power from a plant that burned coal and petroleum in addition to sugar cane pulp. The Sierra Club moved to intervene in the application process, claiming that the plant relied too heavily on burning coal, which forced nearby residents to close windows and run air filters to keep coal smoke out of their homes. The plant lacked modern pollution controls and consistently violated the Clean Air Act. The Sierra Club argued that due process afforded its members the right to a hearing because the Hawaii Constitution protects a property right to a clean and healthful environment. After the PUC denied the motion to intervene, the Sierra Club appealed to Hawaii’s Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA). The ICA found no due-process right to a hearing and dismissed the Sierra Club’s appeal. The Sierra Club appealed further to the Hawaii Supreme Court.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Pollack, J.)

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