Maui County Sues Hawaiian Electric for Causing Wildfire Through Negligence

Hawaiian Electric (Yuki Iwamura / AFP / Getty)
Yuki Iwamura / AFP / Getty

Maui County, the local government of the Hawaiian island that suffered a devastating wildfire earlier this month, sued the Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) on Thursday, alleging it caused the blaze though negligence.

President Joe Biden’s administration has explicitly blamed climate change for the blaze, with senior “clean energy” adviser John Podesta going further and touting Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act as the solution. But it turns out that the spread of alien, invasive grass species on abandoned farmland was a major factor in providing fuel for the blaze that destroyed the town of Lahaina, and local authorities are placing immediate blame on the local power company.

The Wall Street Journal reported:

Maui County filed a lawsuit … in state Second Circuit Court in Hawaii against Hawaiian Electric and its subsidiaries on Maui, alleging the company failed to maintain the electrical system and power grid during a windstorm that lashed the island, resulting in three different fires that erupted on Aug. 8.

The lawsuit claims that the utility, known as HECO, acted negligently by not pre-emptively cutting power despite a warning the prior day from the National Weather Service of high winds and temperatures, along with low humidity—prime conditions for a wildfire. It also says HECO’s failure to maintain its system led to energized, downed power lines causing the fires.

The utility has also been faulted for spending money on “green” energy alternatives rather than in improving the safety of its transmission network, which had been identified as a potential source of wildfire risk in the recent past.

The case appears similar to that of the Pacific Gas & Electric Company in California, whose transmission network has been blamed for sparking several massive wildfires in recent years during periods of high wind. There, too, the political left has blamed climate change, though conservatives have pointed out that poor forest management and environmental policies have allowed brush to grow in forests and around infrastructure, creating more fuel for fires.

Several power companies in California now cut power during periods of high wind, such as Santa Ana winds in Southern California, due to the risk of power lines toppling and sparking devastating wildfires as a result.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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