Should someone other than the project proponent prepare an EIS?
The project proponent should do this. (24: 9, 1, 14)
- The proponent is best suited to do this—there is a stake in a speedy process, more accountability, knowledge of the project, and inclusion of mitigation measures. (11: 3, 8)
- There are enough checks and transparency already. ()
- A 3rd party would not be knowledgeable enough and still have conflicts of interest. ()
- Consultants are ethical and do their best; they are a good use of government time and money. (3: 1, 2)
- Incentives are against finding significant impact. (2)
- “It is like Dracula guarding the blood bank.” There is a conflict of interest. ()
- It is contrary to objective social science. (2.5: .5, 2)
The existing system works. (2)
The proponent pays into a fund that supports a third party preparer. (2: 1, 1)
- OEQC should administer the process or pick a preparer/auditor.
- Sometimes proponents override consultants. (2)
- Randomly chose consultants from a revolving list. ()
- Preparers should cite qualifications in documents.
- Establish certification and decertification requirements. (4: 3, 1)
- A government agency preparing all EAs/EISs would be overwhelmed by all the projects. (2.5)
- The EIS is more like a marketing document, designed to shed a positive light on the project.
- The costs of the process are not proportional to the benefits. (3)
How effective is OEQC?
OEQC is effective.
- They are a great consultation resource for agencies and should remain so.
- The website and digitizing of documents are very helpful. (6: 3, 3)
- The training workshops are excellent.
- The green list is good.
- They focus more on process than content. ()
- They lack resources and staffing. (34: 14, 6, 14)
- They give conflicting information to different agencies. ()
- They are too political and not very objective. ()
- Reviewing secondary impacts has backlogged the agency. (2)
- “They mostly shuffle and process paper.”
What are ways to improve OEQC’s effectiveness?
Increase resources and staffing. (26: 13, 6, 7)
- Increase funding for more outreach and digitizing documents and the website. (4)
- Require legal challenges EAs/EISs to go to OEQC; it then notifies relevant agencies. (2)
- Provide guidelines for process and content of EAs/EISs. (5: 4, 1)
- Strengthen legal role – make determinations and review legally binding; declare exemptions. (4)
- Do EAs/EISs/FONSIs for everyone. (1)
- Move OEQC directly beneath the governor or to another agency. (7: 4, 1, 2)
- Consolidate with Environmental Council. (4: 2, 1, 1)
How effective is the Environmental Council?
I’m not very familiar with it.
The Environmental Council does not fulfill its role.
- They are volunteers. There is not much they can do. (2)
- “They are defunct, ineffective, muzzled by the AG, and usurped by OEQC.” (9: 1, 8)
- They over-step their role and represent personal interests. (2: 1, 1)
- They do a good job reviewing studies. ()
Improve funding, staff, and increase existing authority. (12: 11, 1)
- Help agencies manage and update exemption lists.
- Reviews should carry more weight.
- Move it directly beneath the governor or to another agency.
- Create local Councils for neighbor islands. ()
- Change to hear appeals and oversee administrative actions. ()
- Eliminate them and transfer functions to OEQC. (6: 1, 5)
I’m not very familiar with it.
They play an important role in the environmental review process. (8: 2, 4, 2)
- The need for outside review is essential and the University is a good place for that. ()
- They raise awareness of issues that no one else considers. ()
- They provide useful advice to OEQC and consultants. (2: 1, 1)
It does not fulfill its role.
- Comments are inconsistent, contradictory, impractical, and vary in quality. (6)
- Comments often focus on rules and neglect the larger context.
- Sometimes they advocate too much. ()
Increase resources, training of staff, and clarify role in the review process. (7: 3, 3, 1)
- The Center has an unfunded mandate. They should assert their prerogatives more.
- Issue opinions to decision-makers and share expertise with the community. ()
- Increase awareness of Center’s role through public outreach. (2: 1, 1)
- The University does not appreciate the Center’s role, legal mandate, and independence.
- Incentivize faculty to comment on EISs.
- Make EIS commenting a public service requirement for faculty. ()
- Draw on faculty research to recommend best practices in comments.
- OEQC doesn’t have enough expertise or resources to oversee the entire EIS process.
- All three entities’ effectiveness is very dependent on the directors and staff at any given time. ()
- “Too many chefs spoil the broth.” Consolidate these entities to improve governance. ()
- The interplay between these entities could have checks and balances. OEQC=administrative, Environmental Council=legislative, Environmental Center=judicial.
- The State should create an Environmental Protection Agency to house these entities. (15: 2, 13)
- The Environmental Council should be an independent agency that advises policy-makers without “an axe to grind.”