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State Environmental Council Releases Draft of Updated EIS Rules

July 31, 2017, 8:01 AM HST
* Updated July 31, 4:23 AM
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A preliminary draft of revisions for the State of Hawai‘iʻs environmental impact statement (EIS) administrative rules has been released by the State Environmental Council.

The public is invited to comment on the updated draft during the Councilʻs publicly noticed meetings on the second Tuesday of each month.

EIS rules were last updated in 1996 with the exception of an exemption added in 2007 for acquiring land for affordable housing.

“This is a major milestone for us,” said Council Chair Joseph Shacat. “The Environmental Council initiated the process of revising the rules in 2012, but the volunteer board lacked the support and resources necessary to complete the effort at that time. Thanks to the diligent work of numerous volunteers, as well as Governor Ige’s administration, this preliminary draft will provide a useful starting point for us as a council to engage agencies and the public. I’m really proud of the effort my colleagues put into making this first draft, and I’m looking forward to getting the public’s feedback and proceeding to the next step.”

The preliminary draft clarifies:

  • roles and responsibilities at various stages of the EIS process;
  • submittals and deadlines using electronic communication;
  • when an exemption is appropriate and the role of exemption lists;
  • how to proceed to directly preparing an EIS;
  • how to do programmatic EISs and supplemental EISs;
  • how to respond to comments; and
  • how to do combined federal and state EIS, and more.
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“This is the start of a conversation,” said Scott Glenn, director of the Office of Environmental Quality Control (DOEQ) and vice chair of the Environmental Council. “We are focused on modernizing these 20-year-old rules and making them clearer so people who participate in the EIS process have a better sense of their roles and responsibilities.”

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The current EIS rules are available online through the OEQC website.  The draft language for the updated EIS can be downloaded at: http://oeqc2.doh.hawaii.gov/Laws/2017-07-27-Report-Prelim-Rules-Revisions-Draft.pdf.

For more information about the State Environmental Council, visit: http://health.hawaii.gov/oeqc/environmental-council.

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