Friday, February 12, 2010

SB2818 Passes Out of WTL Committee

Wednesday, February 11, 2010, SB2818 passed out of the Senate Committee on Water, Land, Agriculture and Hawaiian Affairs (WTL). The major proposed changes to Chapter 341 include:
  1. Delete the transfer of DLNR
  2. Increase the Environmental Council (EC) to 9 members instead of 7
  3. Continue the terms of the existing EC through July 1, 2012 or until the next Council is confirmed
  4. Change the effective date of Chapter 341 amendments to July 1, 2010 instead of 2012
  5. Delete sections 2-4 regarding departmental transfer because they are no longer needed
The major proposed changes to Chapter 343 include:
  1. Clarify and simplify the proposed applicability and environmental assessment screen by amending 343-5(a) as follows: "a. Except as otherwise provided, an environmental assessment shall be required for actions that involve (i) major use of state or county lands or funds, or (ii) the issuance to a person of a major discretionary approval, such as a zoning approval or a permit by one or more agencies"
  2. Clarify that the mitigation monitoring report is only a disclosure document
  3. Add a definition of "significant adverse environmental effect" for clarity
  4. Change the "shelf life" rule, to be issued by the EC, to "not more than ten years" from a proposed "not more than seven"
  5. Clarify the effective date of 343-6 (rule-making) shall be July 1, 2010, while the rest of the 343 amendments will remain effective July 1, 2012
  6. Other technical amendments are also added
Chairman Hee recommended passing the bill in deference to other committees, noting that more opportunities to testify will be available in the future. Senator Hemmings repeated his appreciation for the effort of the study team and that the working group reexamine the issue of transferring the Environmental Council and OEQC from DOH to DLNR.

The votes in WTL were as follows: 4 Aye(s): Senators Hee, Bunda, Kokubun, Hemmings; Ayes with reservations: none ; Noes: none; and 3 Excused: Senators Tokuda, Fukunaga, Takamine.

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