Thursday, June 11, 2009

Workshop 5: Mitigation and Cumulative Impacts Voting Results

Below is a summary of the dots for Workshop 5: Mitigation and Cumulative Impacts.


Should mitigation measures be required by law?

Mitigation measures are captured in permitting and do not need to be required by law. (16: 2Red dot, 14Blue dot)
  • Use permitting or another regulatory mechanism. (4: 1Red dot, 2Green dot, 1Blue dot)
  • The current system usually works. It could be modified to ensure that all mitigation measures are written into conditional permits. (10: 7Red dot, 1Green dot, 2Blue dot)
  • Mitigation measures have to be flexible because they can and should change over time. (2: 1Red dot, 1Blue dot)
  • The process is about disclosure; it should stay that way.
Yes, mitigation measures in the EA/EIS should be required by law. (26: 5Red dot, 10Green dot, 11Blue dot)
  • Model Hawaii’s system on NEPA’s “Record of Decision” process. (7: 3Red dot, 4Blue dot)
  • If there is no legal requirement, then mitigation should not be used to avoid an EIS/get a FONSI
  • Yes, but updating to equal or better measures should be allowable.
  • The document could include a “mitigation monitoring plan”, a spreadsheet written in a way that is enforceable and could become binding in acceptance statement. (16: 3Red dot, 11Green dot, 2Blue dot)
  • Mitigation measures should be given more thoughtful, focused and realistic consideration. (Green dot)
Comments and Concerns:
  • It seems like 99% of the time this is covered in permits. Has a study been done to determine if this is a real problem or just a perceived one? (Red dot)
  • There is no enforcement or overseeing agency. How would this be monitored?
  • Mitigation is often complaint driven, not agency initiated. (reactive not proactive)
  • Some things cannot be mitigated. There should be thresholds for impacts. If these are exceeded, the project should not be approved. (5: 4Green dot, 1Blue dot)
  • What else is the point of mentioning them? Citizens expect these to mean something.

Does current EIS practice in Hawaii effectively address cumulative impacts?

Current practice in Hawaii does not effectively address cumulative impacts. (Green dot)
  • "We are at a loss for what to do.”
  • It’s lip service/cursory/glossed over.
  • Impacts are separated and downplayed. (6: 1Red dot, 5Green dot)
  • There is not a good framework to consider this. A project-by-project approach doesn’t work. (3: 1Red dot, 2Green dot)
Cumulative impacts are addressed in some ways, but it could be done better.
  • It’s thoroughly addressed for traffic, but not anything else. (8: 6Red dot, 2Blue dot)
  • Its inconsistent; some types of impacts are easier to address than others. (Red dot)
  • Good consultants do this. (4: 3Red dot, 1Green dot)
Cumulative impacts would be better addressed on a planning level. (14: 9Red dot, 5Blue dot)
  • Without long-term planning, there is nothing to refer to.
  • Cumulative impacts should be looked at earlier. Waiting until the EIS is too late. (2: 1Green dot, 1Blue dot)
  • The process should be more tied to zoning/land use/development plans/community plans/general plan. (24: 9Red dot, 2Green dot, 13Blue dot)
  • A planning agency should oversee this. It shouldn’t fall to individuals. Take the requirement out of the law. (4Red dot)
To better address cumulative impacts, we need: more guidance, a checklist, better definition, understanding of expectations, and good examples. (4: 1Red dot, 3Blue dot)

Create a consistent system for measuring/collecting/reporting data. Develop baselines or thresholds that can make cumulative impact analysis meaningful. (13: 7Red dot, 4Green dot, 2Blue dot)
  • Develop baselines for quantifiable impacts; assess how projects affect baseline. (22: 11Red dot, 6Green dot, 5Blue dot)
  • Create database for long term data on measurable impacts (i.e. water quality and air quality). (6: 1Red dot, 3Green dot, 2Blue dot)
  • Standardized methodology/protocols for data collection. (Red dot)
  • Without data, there cannot be any meaningful scientific debate about cumulative impacts.(2: 1Red dot, 1Green dot)
Comments and Concerns:
  • It’s a lot to expect the private sector to contribute to a solution for a problem that was ignored by the public agency responsible for it. (2: 1Red dot, 1Blue dot)
  • This is an important issue but should be kept practical; if you take it too far it becomes ridiculous. (7: 5Red dot, 2Blue dot)
  • All impacts are cumulative on some level. The process looks at impacts in a piecemeal, fragmented way that doesn’t reflect this, and that leads to impacts being downplayed. (2: 1Red dot, 1Green dot)
  • The army does a good job of looking at cumulative impacts, NEPA is stronger on this than 343. (3Blue dot)
  • We are about 25 years behind. The state doesn’t understand the magnitude of the problem.
  • There should be a carrying capacity study for the islands. (3Green dot)
  • Address cumulative impacts with strategic EAs/EISs. (Blue dot)
  • Part of the analysis of cumulative impacts should include considering alternative actions.
  • Cumulative impacts should be a significance criterion.
  • The planning office is too influenced by political goals.
  • Large projects are sometimes broken up into smaller ones to avoid having to do an EIS.

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