Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Final Report on Hawaii's Environmental Review System

The Study has completed its Final Report on Hawaii's Environmental Review System. It was prepared pursuant to Act 1, Session Laws of Hawaii 2008, which requested that the University of Hawaii conduct this study of the environmental review system and develop legislative recommendations for modernizing Hawaii's system of environmental review.

The first half of the Report includes introductory and background sections, a detailed description of the study process, and a discussion of the events of the 2010 legislative session. The latter half of the report focuses on detailing a set of comprehensive recommendations for improving Hawaii's environmental review system. The report focuses on five areas of concern within the system: (1) applicability, (2) governance, (3) participation, (4) content and, (5) process, and describes identified issues and specific recommendations for addressing them.

We thank you for your past and continued contribution to the study. Input from stakeholders was a key source of information used in determining the recommended changes to the system, and helped to shape and guide our study throughout the process. We look forward to continuing to work with you to improve Hawaii's environmental review system. Please feel free to contact us about the study via email at EISstudy@hawaii.edu or through the project blog at http://hawaiiEISstudy.blogspot.com.

The full report and appendices is displayed below or can be downloaded directly from here. The report or the appendices can be downloaded separately from the sidebar menu.
Final Report on Hawaii's Environmental Review System 2010

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Presentation on the Working Group's Recommendations

On Tuesday, four members of the Working Group, Professor Denise Antolini, Lee Sichter, David Arakawa, and Robert Harris, presented the Working Group's recommendations to the Natural Resources Section of the Hawaii State Bar Association. A power point was prepared, but not shown, in favor of a more discussion-oriented format.

The power point is available online here or for download (6.6 MB) and is designed to be more of a stand-alone document on the UH Study, the Working Group, and the recommendations.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Background Document: Environmental Justice Report

As the Study prepares its final report, background materials will be posted. These materials are resource documents that the Study has referenced throughout its project.

One of the motivating reasons for the study itself was this Environmental Justice Report.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Working Group Participants' Agreement

As noted before, Senator Gabbard convened a Working Group for those who testified on the first draft of SB2818 to come together, work out their differences, and develop language to improve the bill. The relevant portion of the Committees on Energy and Environment and Water, Land, Agriculture, and Hawaiian Affairs report on SB2818 addressed the legislative intent behind setting up the group:
Your Committees find that this measure requires additional scrutiny and review, and hope that the stakeholders will continue to work toward the effort of an improved system of environmental review. Your Committees have invited the University of Hawaii study team, the Director of the Office of Environmental Quality Control, the Chair of the Environmental Council, a member of the Environmental Council with a background in planning, and representatives of the Building Industry Association – Hawaii, Sierra Club Hawaii Chapter, the Land Use Research Foundation, Earthjustice, Belt Collins, and the Nature Conservancy to participate in a working group to develop further recommendations. Your Committees recognize that the working group may not achieve consensus on each aspect of the environmental review process, but hope that each member of the group will work in a spirit of compromise to seek a middle ground.
The UH Study Team contracted with Lily Bloom Domingo to serve as the facilitator for the discussions. The Working Group held half-day meetings on Feb. 16, 17, 22, 23, and Mar. 3, 4, 8, 17, and 22, as well as numerous subgroup meetings to work out especially tendentious points. To encourage more candid discussion, Ms. Domingo asked the members of the Working Group to sign a Participants' Agreement effective until the end of the group process.

The Working Group has concluded its work and Sen. Gabbard has since released the Working Group members from the Participants' Agreement. Here is a copy of the Participants' Agreement:
SB2818 Working Group
Senator Mike Gabbard, Host
Lily Bloom Domingo, Facilitator February 16, 2010

SB2818 Working Group Objectives:
  1. Identify areas of agreement regarding SB2818.
  2. Identify possible improvements to SB2818.
  3. Draft agreed upon improvements to SB2818.
  4. Agree on revised SB2818.
  5. Recommend revised SB2818 to Senate and House committees and leadership.
Ground Rules for Participation:
  1. Come with the intent to find common ground with others to formulate revisions to SB2818.
  2. Show respect for other participants, inside and outside the working group process.
  3. Listen to understand, and avoid interrupting others.
  4. Cell phones and other electronic devices will be turned off or placed on silent mode. Texting and phone conversations will be taken outside.
  5. If you recommend improvements to SB2818, provide specific alternative language.
  6. The content of the group's discussion, while not confidential, will not be disclosed to the media or used for other public advocacy events. While the Working Group is in process, participants agree to show respect for the process by not commenting on or judging other participants in public.
  7. The desire is to reach agreements on revisions that everyone can live with, however, given the tight timeline for discusssions, it may be necessary to make decisions by voting, in which case the recommended changes will be determined by the majority vote.
  8. Participation in the Working Group is a privilege not a right; any member of the Working Group who is unable to commit to a good faith collaborative process should not participate and may be asked to leave the group.
I agree with the objectives of the SB2818 Working Group and will abide by all the ground rules.

The Working Group recommendations, in the the proposed versions of SB2818 SD2 HD3 and SB2957 SD1 HD2, and letters to Senator Gabbard are available in the Quick Links in the sidebar.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Environmental Review in the News

Last week on Thursday, April 1, Dan Nakaso had an article in the Honolulu Advertiser on the Working Group that Sen. Gabbard convened.

Today in Sunday's paper, Senator Gabbard has a commentary responding to Nakaso's article.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Working Group Thank You Letters to Senator Gabbard

At the conclusion of the Working Group, the members wrote two thank you letters to Senator Gabbard.

The first letter describes the unanimous consensus of the Working Group for recommendations to Chapter 341 HRS.*

The second letter describes the points of consensus and disagreement among the Working Group members regarding Chapter 343 HRS.

Update: After the submission of this letter to Sen. Gabbard, one member of the Working Group expressed strong reservations about the final wording in the proposed SB2818 SD2 HD3 regarding the language describing the relationship between the Environmental Council and OEQC.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Update on SB2818 SD2 HD3 - Working Group Recommendations to Chapter 341 HRS

The House Committee on Finance recommended that SB2818 SD2 HD2 be deferred, thus choosing at this point to not consider the Working Group's recommendations embodied in SB2818 SD2 HD3.

Working Group Recommendations for Ch. 343 - SB2957 SD1 HD2

Senator Gabbard has released the Working Group recommendations for Chapter 343 HRS in a proposed SB2957 SD1 HD2. The House Committee on Judiciary is supposed to hear the bill next, but the Committee has not yet scheduled a time. Please check back here or the SB2957's profile page at the capitol website for updates.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Working Group Recommendation for Ch. 341 - SB2818 SD2 HD3

The Working Group presented its recommended amendments to SB2818 today to the House Committee on Finance. The working group, convened by Senator Gabbard, completed its work on Monday and submitted its consensus version of SB2818 SD2 HD3 attached to Professor Antolini's testimony. The testimony and version HD3 should be available on the Legislature website by Monday at the latest.

Until then, the Working Group version of SB2818 SD2 HD3 can be downloaded here.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Upcoming JUD Hearing for SB2818 SD2 HD1

The House Committee on Judiciary will hear SB2818 SD2 HD1 on Tuesday, March 16, 2010 at 2:15 pm. As the bill moves through the House Committee hearings, the Working Group appointed by Senator Gabbard continues to meet to reach agreement on concerns raised during previous testimony.

Friday, March 12, 2010

House Amends SB2818 SD2 to SB2818 SD2 HD1

Yesterday, the joint-meeting of the House Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection (EEP), the Committee on Water, Land, & Ocean Resources (WLO), and the Committee on Economic Vitalization, Business, & Military Affairs (EBM) recommended passing SB2818 SD2, and amended it to SB2818 SD2 HD1.

The committees on EEP recommend that the measure be PASSED, WITH AMENDMENTS. The votes were as follows: 12 Ayes: Representative(s) Morita, Coffman, Cabanilla, Chang, Chong, Har, C. Lee, Luke, Ching, Thielen; Ayes with reservations: Representative(s) Herkes, Sagum; Noes: none; and 1 Excused: Representative(s) Ito.

The committees on WLO recommend that the measure be PASSED, WITH AMENDMENTS. The votes were as follows: 12 Ayes: Representative(s) Har, Cabanilla, Chang, Chong, Coffman, C. Lee, Luke, Morita, Ching, Thielen; Ayes with reservations: Representative(s) Herkes, Sagum; Noes: none; and 1 Excused: Representative(s) Ito.

The committees on EBM recommend that the measure be PASSED, WITH AMENDMENTS. The votes were as follows: 6 Ayes: Representative(s) McKelvey, Choy, Evans, Tokioka, Tsuji, Ward; Ayes with reservations: none; 0 Noes: none; and 5 Excused: Representative(s) Berg, Manahan, Takai, Wakai, Wooley.

The amended House version 1 eliminates Sections 2-9 of SB2818 SD2, which all propose amendments to Chapter 343, and retains only Section 1 of SB2818 SD2, which proposes amendments to Chapter 341. HD1 also changes the effective date to July 1, 2010 and makes minor changes for consistency and style.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Update: SB2818 Now SD2; Hearing Today

After the Feb. 26 meeting of WAM, SB2818 was passed and amended to SD 2. The bill then passed over to the House on March 2 and passed its first reading there March 3.

It will be heard today, March 9, at 11:15 AM by a joint committee hearing of the House Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection (EEP), the Committee on Water, Land, & Ocean Resources (WLO), and the Committee on Economic Vitalization, Business, & Military Affairs (EBM).