Thursday, April 15, 2010

Presentation on the Working Group's Recommendations

On Tuesday, four members of the Working Group, Professor Denise Antolini, Lee Sichter, David Arakawa, and Robert Harris, presented the Working Group's recommendations to the Natural Resources Section of the Hawaii State Bar Association. A power point was prepared, but not shown, in favor of a more discussion-oriented format.

The power point is available online here or for download (6.6 MB) and is designed to be more of a stand-alone document on the UH Study, the Working Group, and the recommendations.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Background Document: Environmental Justice Report

As the Study prepares its final report, background materials will be posted. These materials are resource documents that the Study has referenced throughout its project.

One of the motivating reasons for the study itself was this Environmental Justice Report.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Working Group Participants' Agreement

As noted before, Senator Gabbard convened a Working Group for those who testified on the first draft of SB2818 to come together, work out their differences, and develop language to improve the bill. The relevant portion of the Committees on Energy and Environment and Water, Land, Agriculture, and Hawaiian Affairs report on SB2818 addressed the legislative intent behind setting up the group:
Your Committees find that this measure requires additional scrutiny and review, and hope that the stakeholders will continue to work toward the effort of an improved system of environmental review. Your Committees have invited the University of Hawaii study team, the Director of the Office of Environmental Quality Control, the Chair of the Environmental Council, a member of the Environmental Council with a background in planning, and representatives of the Building Industry Association – Hawaii, Sierra Club Hawaii Chapter, the Land Use Research Foundation, Earthjustice, Belt Collins, and the Nature Conservancy to participate in a working group to develop further recommendations. Your Committees recognize that the working group may not achieve consensus on each aspect of the environmental review process, but hope that each member of the group will work in a spirit of compromise to seek a middle ground.
The UH Study Team contracted with Lily Bloom Domingo to serve as the facilitator for the discussions. The Working Group held half-day meetings on Feb. 16, 17, 22, 23, and Mar. 3, 4, 8, 17, and 22, as well as numerous subgroup meetings to work out especially tendentious points. To encourage more candid discussion, Ms. Domingo asked the members of the Working Group to sign a Participants' Agreement effective until the end of the group process.

The Working Group has concluded its work and Sen. Gabbard has since released the Working Group members from the Participants' Agreement. Here is a copy of the Participants' Agreement:
SB2818 Working Group
Senator Mike Gabbard, Host
Lily Bloom Domingo, Facilitator February 16, 2010

SB2818 Working Group Objectives:
  1. Identify areas of agreement regarding SB2818.
  2. Identify possible improvements to SB2818.
  3. Draft agreed upon improvements to SB2818.
  4. Agree on revised SB2818.
  5. Recommend revised SB2818 to Senate and House committees and leadership.
Ground Rules for Participation:
  1. Come with the intent to find common ground with others to formulate revisions to SB2818.
  2. Show respect for other participants, inside and outside the working group process.
  3. Listen to understand, and avoid interrupting others.
  4. Cell phones and other electronic devices will be turned off or placed on silent mode. Texting and phone conversations will be taken outside.
  5. If you recommend improvements to SB2818, provide specific alternative language.
  6. The content of the group's discussion, while not confidential, will not be disclosed to the media or used for other public advocacy events. While the Working Group is in process, participants agree to show respect for the process by not commenting on or judging other participants in public.
  7. The desire is to reach agreements on revisions that everyone can live with, however, given the tight timeline for discusssions, it may be necessary to make decisions by voting, in which case the recommended changes will be determined by the majority vote.
  8. Participation in the Working Group is a privilege not a right; any member of the Working Group who is unable to commit to a good faith collaborative process should not participate and may be asked to leave the group.
I agree with the objectives of the SB2818 Working Group and will abide by all the ground rules.

The Working Group recommendations, in the the proposed versions of SB2818 SD2 HD3 and SB2957 SD1 HD2, and letters to Senator Gabbard are available in the Quick Links in the sidebar.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Environmental Review in the News

Last week on Thursday, April 1, Dan Nakaso had an article in the Honolulu Advertiser on the Working Group that Sen. Gabbard convened.

Today in Sunday's paper, Senator Gabbard has a commentary responding to Nakaso's article.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Working Group Thank You Letters to Senator Gabbard

At the conclusion of the Working Group, the members wrote two thank you letters to Senator Gabbard.

The first letter describes the unanimous consensus of the Working Group for recommendations to Chapter 341 HRS.*

The second letter describes the points of consensus and disagreement among the Working Group members regarding Chapter 343 HRS.

Update: After the submission of this letter to Sen. Gabbard, one member of the Working Group expressed strong reservations about the final wording in the proposed SB2818 SD2 HD3 regarding the language describing the relationship between the Environmental Council and OEQC.