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Wednesday, March 28, 2012
State, County Projects Exempt from Environmental Review? Thielen, Rivere Rip SB755
By Video @ 1:58 PM :: 5872 Views :: Energy, Environment

Reps. Riviere and Thielen address SB 755.- Special Management Area Permits



(Economic Development; Special Management Area Permits, Shoreline Setback Variances, Environmental Assessment Exemptions)


The purpose of this bill is to provide sweeping exemptions for the justification that it will facilitate economic development.

In the HD2 bill: Part III temporarily authorizes DLNR and DOT, with the approval of the governor, to exempt department projects from the special management area permit and shoreline setback variance requirements. Part IV exempts all work involving submerged lands used for state commercial harbor purposes from any permit and site plan review requirements for lands in the conservation district. Part V temporarily authorizes a more streamlined process for exempting state and county projects from the environmental review process of chapter 343, HRS, and reduces the deadline for challenging the lack of an environmental assessment for a state or county project.

"Scrapping the current structure that ensures thoughtful review, complete transparency and opportunity for public input in exchange for a unilateral process that includes no public input, no transparency and no system of thoughtful impartial review sets a very bad precedent, provides a separate set of rules for public and private projects, is unnecessary, demonstrates a lack of understanding of Chapter 343 in particular, is not in the best interest of the public and has the potential to do great damage to our natural environment " (Office of Environmental Quality Control).

There is no need for a separate EA exemption process created for state and county projects when a functional system for creating agency exemption lists currently exists and is overseen by the Office of Environmental Quality Control (OEQC) and the Environmental Council (OHA).

The bill "grants the State broad powers over project planning while simultaneously reducing county and community input" (OHA).

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