Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Workshop 3: Governance and Management Voting Results

Below is a summary of the dots for Workshop 3: Governance and Management.


Should someone other than the project proponent prepare an EIS?

The project proponent should do this. (24: 9Red dot, 1Green dot, 14Blue dot)
  • 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: 3Red dot, 8Blue dot)
  • There are enough checks and transparency already. (Green dot)
  • A 3rd party would not be knowledgeable enough and still have conflicts of interest. (Blue dot)
  • Consultants are ethical and do their best; they are a good use of government time and money. (3: 1Red dot, 2Blue dot)
Someone other than the proponent should prepare the EIS. (28: 5Red dot, 23Green dot)
  • Incentives are against finding significant impact. (2Green dot)
  • “It is like Dracula guarding the blood bank.” There is a conflict of interest. (Green dot)
  • It is contrary to objective social science. (2.5: .5Red dot, 2Green dot)
How can the system be improved?

The existing system works. (2Red dot)

The proponent pays into a fund that supports a third party preparer. (2: 1Green dot, 1Blue dot)
  • OEQC should administer the process or pick a preparer/auditor.
Preparers should be certified and independent. (2: 1Green dot, 1Blue dot)
  • Sometimes proponents override consultants. (2Green dot)
  • Randomly chose consultants from a revolving list. (Green dot)
  • Preparers should cite qualifications in documents.
  • Establish certification and decertification requirements. (4: 3Green dot, 1Blue dot)
Comments and Concerns
  • A government agency preparing all EAs/EISs would be overwhelmed by all the projects. (2.5Red dot)
  • 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. (3Red dot)

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: 3Red dot, 3Blue dot)
  • The training workshops are excellent.
  • The green list is good.
  • They focus more on process than content. (Blue dot)
OEQC does what it can with what it’s got. (8: 7Red dot, 1Green dot)
  • They lack resources and staffing. (34: 14Red dot, 6Green dot, 14Blue dot)
  • They give conflicting information to different agencies. (Red dot)
  • They are too political and not very objective. (Green dot)
  • Reviewing secondary impacts has backlogged the agency. (2Red dot)
  • “They mostly shuffle and process paper.”
NOTE= “Move OEQC out from under DOH’s evil clutches.” (Blue dot)

What are ways to improve OEQC’s effectiveness?

Increase resources and staffing. (26: 13Red dot, 6Green dot, 7Blue dot)
  • Increase funding for more outreach and digitizing documents and the website. (4Red dot)
Provide better guidance and training.
  • Require legal challenges EAs/EISs to go to OEQC; it then notifies relevant agencies. (2Red dot)
  • Provide guidelines for process and content of EAs/EISs. (5: 4Red dot, 1Blue dot)
Expand/Change OEQC’s role in the EIS process. (8: 6Red dot, 1Green dot, 1Blue dot)
  • Strengthen legal role – make determinations and review legally binding; declare exemptions. (4Red dot)
  • Do EAs/EISs/FONSIs for everyone. (1Red dot)
  • Move OEQC directly beneath the governor or to another agency. (7: 4Red dot, 1Green dot, 2Blue dot)
  • Consolidate with Environmental Council. (4: 2Red dot, 1Green dot, 1Blue dot)

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. (2Red dot)
  • “They are defunct, ineffective, muzzled by the AG, and usurped by OEQC.” (9: 1Red dot, 8Green dot)
  • They over-step their role and represent personal interests. (2: 1Red dot, 1Blue dot)
The Environmental Council is useful.
  • They do a good job reviewing studies. (Red dot)
What are ways to improve the Environmental Council’s effectiveness?

Improve funding, staff, and increase existing authority. (12: 11Red dot, 1Blue dot)
  • Help agencies manage and update exemption lists.
  • Reviews should carry more weight.
The Environmental Council’s role should be changed.
  • Move it directly beneath the governor or to another agency.
  • Create local Councils for neighbor islands. (Green dot)
  • Change to hear appeals and oversee administrative actions. (Green dot)
  • Eliminate them and transfer functions to OEQC. (6: 1Red dot, 5Blue dot)
How effective is the Environmental Center?

I’m not very familiar with it.

They play an important role in the environmental review process. (8: 2Red dot, 4Green dot, 2Blue dot)
  • The need for outside review is essential and the University is a good place for that. (Green dot)
  • They raise awareness of issues that no one else considers. (Green dot)
  • They provide useful advice to OEQC and consultants. (2: 1Red dot, 1Green dot)

It does not fulfill its role.
  • Comments are inconsistent, contradictory, impractical, and vary in quality. (6Blue dot)
  • Comments often focus on rules and neglect the larger context.
  • Sometimes they advocate too much. (Blue dot)
What are ways to improve the Environmental Center’s effectiveness?

Increase resources, training of staff, and clarify role in the review process. (7: 3Red dot, 3Green dot, 1Blue dot)
  • The Center has an unfunded mandate. They should assert their prerogatives more.
  • Issue opinions to decision-makers and share expertise with the community. (Red dot)
  • Increase awareness of Center’s role through public outreach. (2: 1Red dot, 1Blue dot)
The Environmental Center should better engage the University and faculty. (2: 1Red dot, 1Green dot)
  • 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. (Green dot)
  • Draw on faculty research to recommend best practices in comments.
Comments and Concerns
  • 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. (Green dot)
  • “Too many chefs spoil the broth.” Consolidate these entities to improve governance. (Green dot)
  • 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: 2Red dot, 13Blue dot)
  • The Environmental Council should be an independent agency that advises policy-makers without “an axe to grind.”

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