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Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Lingle hands down first veto of session
By Gov. Linda Lingle @ 12:41 PM :: 5367 Views :: Energy, Environment


March 2, 2010 Governor Linda Lingle has vetoed the following bill:

SB1311 SD1 HD1 Veto Date: March 2, 2010


Would exempt the University of Hawai‘i from permitting requirements that protect the marine refuge in Kane‘ohe Bay and would allow the University to use staff of the Department of Land and Natural Resources without paying for the staff.

The Governor's veto message follows …



March 2, 2010


Honorable Members

Twenty-Fifth Legislature

State of Hawaii

Pursuant to Section 16 of Article III of the Constitution of the State of Hawaii, I am returning herewith, without my approval,  Bill No. 1311 entitled "A Bill for an Act Relating Aquatic Resources."

The purpose of this bill is to exempt the University of Hawaii from any law that requires a permit or application to carry out repair and maintenance of the Hawaii Marine Laboratory Refuge.  The bill also allows the University of Hawaii to use Department of Land and Natural Resources staff without charge.

This bill is objectionable because it grants the University of Hawaii an overly broad and unnecessary exemption from permitting requirements that protect and preserve Hawaii's natural public trust resources.

A permit allows a privilege conveyed to individuals or agencies to perform an activity not normally available to the general public.  A permit carries a responsibility to uphold high standards that will benefit society and protect our environment. To exempt a single State agency, in this case the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, from this obligation is inappropriate and conveys to them disproportionate powers without adequate public accountability.

The legislation fails to define what constitutes repair and maintenance activities.  It is unclear what projects would be granted a permitting exemption under this measure.  The lack of guidance provided by the ambiguous bill language could exempt a broad range of activities from the State's permitting requirements.

Further, the measure is unnecessary since routine repair and maintenance of facilities existing in conservation districts are already permissible under current conservation district rules.  Any activities that extend beyond basic repair and maintenance projects in a conservation district should be subject to the additional oversight and standards established in the permitting process.

Additionally, the bill would allow the University to use the Department of Land and Natural Resources staff at no charge in the operations of the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology.  The department does not have surplus personnel to take on additional responsibilities.  This legislation would impose a durable and indeterminate potential fiscal liability on the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

For the foregoing reasons, I am returning Senate Bill No. 1311 without my approval.



Governor of Hawaii



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