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Sunday, August 15, 2010
State Zoning Statutes As "Environmental" Laws - More On HAWSCT's Ala Loop Decision
By Robert Thomas @ 11:09 AM :: 9147 Views :: Hawaii County , Education K-12, Environment

In County of Hawaii v. Ala Loop Homeowners, (July 9, 2010), the Hawaii Supreme Court held that certain state zoning laws are "environmental" laws that may be enforced by private plaintiffs. The court held "[w]e further conclude that article XI, section 9 of the Hawai'i Constitution creates a private right of action to enforce chapter 205 in the circumstances of this case."

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Sunday, August 8, 2010
Individual right to sue for “clean and healthful environment”? State moves for reconsideration
By Robert Thomas @ 10:38 AM :: 7984 Views :: Greenmail

The State argues: ...the Court has made new law that will significantly affect multiple sectors of our community, all levels of state and county government, and countless administrative and judicial proceedings that are pending in the courts and before state and county land use and environmental regulatory agencies." 

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Friday, July 23, 2010
Supreme Court: Zoning Statutes Are "Environmental" Laws – individuals can now sue to enforce
By Robert Thomas @ 1:59 AM :: 7792 Views :: Energy, Environment

This case did not garner the broad public interest of the Superferry litigation, but the case could be more important. The core issue in the case was whether Hawaii's statewide zoning laws are "laws relating to environmental quality" which may be privately enforced, or whether they are classic Euclidean zoning laws which can't.

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Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Three Takeaway Points From The U.S. Supreme Court's Ceded Lands Decision Handed Down Today
By Robert Thomas @ 10:56 AM :: 8683 Views :: Energy, Environment, National News, Ethics

This case challenged the State's title to the ceded lands because the federal government's title, which it transferred to the state at statehood was somehow less than absolute. That argument has now been put to rest: the federal government had "absolute fee" title to the lands ceded to it by the Republic of Hawaii. Statehood is "a uniquely sovereign" event, and means something.

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Thursday, March 19, 2009
Pyrrhic victory for Superferry Protesters?
By Robert Thomas @ 1:45 PM :: 6008 Views :: Energy, Environment

Environmental and community-action groups such as the Sierra Club and Maui Tomorrow now find themselves in the crosshairs of many residents frustrated by recent developments with the Hawaii Superferry.

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Friday, February 27, 2009
OHA's strange concessions in "Ceded Lands" Oral Arguments
By Robert Thomas @ 12:01 AM :: 8484 Views :: Energy, National News

At first, it was a bit odd to see Washington, D.C. attorney Kannon Shanmugam, counsel for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs in the "ceded lands" case immediately concede in oral argument that the U.S. Supreme Court should rule against OHA -- and hold the Apology Resolution was simply a symbolic statement of regret -- if the Hawaii Supreme Court's decision relied on it.

The predicament OHA finds itself in is one almost entirely of its own making. Its unusual U.S. Supreme Court strategy was made necessary by its overwhelming victory in the Hawaii Supreme Court (the court ruled unanimously against the State), where it argued successfully that the Apology Resolution provided all of the answers. But in prevailing on that basis, OHA opened the door to the state and federal government's arguments which -- if accepted by a majority of the Supreme Court -- at the very least will shift the venue for resolution of land claims from OHA's preferred forum, state courts, to the political branches of state government.

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