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US Sen. Hirono visits Pacific Biodiesel’s new crushing mill, tours its expanded agriculture operations on Kauai

From left, Kelly King, Sen. Mazie Hirono, Bruce Robinson and Bob King pose in front of the storage silos at the Kaumakani, Kauai, facility. (Photo: Office of Sen. Mazie K. Hirono)

Pacific Biodiesel founders Bob and Kelly King welcomed U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono for a tour of the company’s new crushing mill and expanded agriculture operations in Kaumakani, Kauai, March 27.

 

Other guests included representatives from Kauai landowners Gay & Robinson Inc., Ulupono Initiative, and Gov. Josh Green’s Kauai liaison.

 

Pacific Biodiesel announced earlier this year the expansion to Kauai as part of a federally funded project to develop a model for Hawaii regenerative agriculture-based biofuel.

 

Funding for the project was supported by Hirono, who serves on several strategic Senate committees including armed services and energy and natural resources.

 

She also chairs the armed services subcommittee on readiness and management support, where she is leading the fight to modernize military infrastructure in Hawaii and across the country.

 

“This federal funding will help bolster Hawaii’s local agriculture industry while decreasing our reliance on expensive imported oil,” Hirono said. “Not only will this project advance our state’s climate and clean-energy goals, it will also provide our military installations with a reliable source of renewable fuel while supporting local jobs.”

 

Hirono’s visit coincided with Hawaii Climate Week 2024.

 

“This is a big deal not just for Kauai but for agriculture in our state,” said Bob King. “It has the potential to change from our sugar background to a new phase of agriculture. Creating fuel for the military as well as for the rest of the population. We’re vulnerable on food, we’re vulnerable on fuel, and this project is addressing both sides of that—the food and the fuel. I’m really excited to be able to move this project forward.”

 

Sen. Hirono, right, enjoyed a tasting of the company’s premium Maiden Hawaii Naturals culinary oils during a tour of the bottling room hosted by Pacific Biodiesel co-founders Bob and Kelly King. (Photo: Office of Sen. Mazie K. Hirono)

The tour included a visit to the mill’s bottling room where guests sampled the company’s premium culinary oils, sourced from local agriculture including sunflowers from the Kings’ farm on Maui.

 

“I tasted their sunflower oil and their macadamia nut oil—really delicious,” Hirono said.

 

The guests also had an opportunity to learn about the new expeller press and see a trio of recently installed large-capacity grain silos where harvested seed will be stored until it is crushed, producing both oil and a high-protein meal for livestock feed.

 

“We would not be doing this if not for the partnership with Sen. Hirono’s office getting the federal funding,” said Kelly King. “Thank you to the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives for understanding how important agriculture is in general, doing agriculture the right way, and addressing things that we can make. Because we can make our own food and fuel now in the state of Hawaii—where we’re the furthest away from the next inhabited land in the world. And so we are becoming more self-sufficient with this project.”

 

Hirono added, “I think there is so much focus now on sustainability in terms of the fuel that we use and not continually importing oil for energy here. Also, food sustainability. Everywhere I go there is interest in the kind of agriculture that will enable us to grow more of our own food. This project is part of that focus.”

 

The video from the senator’s visit can be viewed here.

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