Friday, June 12, 2009

Workshop 8: Big Ideas Voting Results

Below is a summary of the dots for Workshop 8: Big Ideas.


Intent of the law:
  • “We need to review the original intent of the law to see if it is still valid. If it is, change the process to reflect this. If not, then change the intent.” (25: 14Red dot, 1Green dot, 10Blue dot)
  • Does the process work / have the intended effect? (6Blue dot)
  • Are EISs relevant to decision making, or have they become routine? (6: 1Red dot, 1Green dot, 4Blue dot)
  • Should it be more than a disclosure / information document?
  • State constitution guarantees rights to a clean and healthful environment. Environmental policy should be enforceable. (Red dot)
Business Concerns:
  • Businesses want more clarity of the law, predictability, consistency and certainty. (10: 2Red dot, 1Green dot, 7Blue dot)
  • The process is prohibitive for small businesses. (5: 3Red dot, 2Blue dot)
    • Small businesses are scrutinized more because they cannot afford fancy documents. (Red dot)
    • There should not be a one-size-fits-all approach.
    • Mom-and-pops, small businesses, churches, and those with fewer resources suffer.
  • Beneficial projects like affordable housing and renewable/alternative energy are discouraged. What are the cumulative impacts of these lost opportunities? (3: 1Red dot, 2Blue dot)
  • There is confusion surrounding utility hook-ups and right of ways that needs resolution. (5Red dot)
  • Responsible businesses understand the need for the process.
  • The EIS process is perceived negatively in the business community as a regulatory mechanism. (Red dot)
  • Documents are costly and time-consuming. We should strive for a process that is both protective and efficient. (5: 3Red dot, 2Blue dot)
The process should be more holistic. (8: 1Red dot, 6Green dot, 1Blue dot)
  • It approaches issues in a fragmented, piecemeal way. (3: 1Green dot, 2Blue dot)
  • The process is too focused on procedural issues.
  • It is not good at balancing competing disciplines – agencies, non-profits and private groups are all too singularly focused on their own missions and miss the big picture. (3: 1Red dot, 2Blue dot)
  • It does not strike the right balance between environment and economy. (6: 1Green dot, 5Blue dot)
  • It is not good at scoping.
  • Should address sustainability.

Planning should be better integrated into the process. (29: 7Red dot, 8Green dot, 14Blue dot)
  • “The EIS process should be more about getting things right up front."
  • Should approach issues with the goal of fulfilling state plans.
  • It is too regulatory. It needs incentives, goals, positive guidelines and a more proactive, long-term approach.
  • It doesn’t address how communities/the public would like to see things done. It sets up barriers rather than partnerships. (2Green dot)
  • A focus on planning could change the adversarial relationship between developers and the community.
The EIS process is used to stop projects. (18: 3Red dot, 15Blue dot)
  • The process raises false expectations.
  • The public does not understand the process well. (Red dot)
  • This is not how the law was intended. (Blue dot)
  • If not through this process, then what is the appropriate venue for the public to voice concern about development they don’t want?
The process has become too complicated. (7: 6Red dot, 1Green dot)
  • The process has evolved over time to address changing standards and concerns, but this has been done in an overlay fashion that has made it too complicated. (2Blue dot)
  • Is the EIS process an appropriate way to address the universe of issues?
  • Things change and what we think is appropriate changes over time. The law should be flexible to accommodate changes in underlying values.
  • Documents are too long and cumbersome to publish and read. They are costly and counter-productive. (3: 1Red dot, 2Blue dot)
  • In trying to accomplish too much, the process loses something, is too onerous, and the original intent is not served. (3Red dot)
  • Sometimes only a focused study should be required, if only certain impacts are of interest.
  • Adding more requirements negatively impacts research and development opportunities. (2: 1Red dot, 1Blue dot)

There should a better balance of power between State and County.
  • More consistency between state and county processes. (Red dot)
  • Local authorities know better about local conditions and impacts.
  • The same projects on different islands have different impacts. (Blue dot)
There should be more consistency between the state and federal processes. (3Blue dot)
  • The two processes can be redundant.
  • Need more training/guidance from OEQC on integrating processes.
  • Currently, it is very cumbersome to do a joint state/federal EIS. (3Blue dot)
  • 343 should be more like NEPA. (this would resolve inconsistency issues of going directly to doing EISs, scoping, comment periods) (28: 6Red dot, 22Blue dot)
The alternatives analysis process could be improved. (9: 1Red dot, 8Green dot)
  • It should be more than action/no action.
  • It should address alternative technologies, etc. and not just alternative sites.
  • It should go into more depth about why alternatives were not chosen.
  • Need better guidance about how this should be done.
  • Proponents are not open to options, the attitude is “take it or leave it” (Green dot)
  • If this analysis does not serve a purpose, it should not be required. (2Red dot)
There will always be opportunities for abuse.
  • Everything cannot be legislated.