Representative Cynthia Thielen and Gil Riviere Addresses H.B. No. 2611, H.D. 1 Stand. Comm. Rep. No. 590-12 RELATING TO ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENTS.(Environmental Impact Statements, Exceptions) AS AMENDED, REFER TO JUDICIARY

The purpose of this bill is to:
• Exempt secondary actions from HRS chapter 343 (EIS Statements) if they are ancillary and limited to the installation, improvement, renovation, construction or development of infrastructure within an existing public right-of-way or highway.
• Require an applicant to prepare environmental assessments when the proposed action is not exempt under HRS 343-6.
• Require that when there is uncertainty as to what agency shall require an assessment, then the Office of Environmental Quality Control is to determine whether the preparation of the assessment by an applicant is required
A similar law passed as Act 87 (2009), and was automatically repealed in 2011. Gov. Lingle signed the Act. HB2611, however, tries to make permanent changes.
Note: The bill has several technical flaws. Most significantly, there is no effective date. The bill also attempts to amend a chapter that does not seem to exist anymore. The current version of this bill, HD1, incorporates amendments suggested by Office of Environmental Quality Control. Rep. Thielen voted “no” and Rep. Riviere voted “WR.” They believe the bill is unnecessary because the backlog of minor work projects reviews is caused by DOT inefficiency, not excessive environmental regulations under Chapter 343. Bill is unnecessary because minor highway improvements are already exempted from environmental reviews by Chapter 343.

Contact: repthielen@capitol.hawaii.gov

excerpt from Capitol TV