Saturday, October 06, 2007


The next environmental exemption battle --Kukui Gardens?

by Larry Geller

Why does the environment lose so often in Hawaii? You'd think that we would prize the environmental assessment process as a way to be sure that we continue to take care of the precious little space that we have here and all that inhabit it.

Whales, people, we all need protection against being run over by boats, paved over by developers, or turned into a big genetically modified organism lab. We need these laws for our environmental protection, and should defend encroachment by those who want to remove them.

Like our governor.

Since comments are usually invisible on a blog, I'll repeat here the anonymous comment posted today to the article Did the Superferry need to get an SMA permit for its facility in Nawiliwili?. I did check the calendar link and there is indeed an agenda item to discuss adding a whole new class of EA exemptions. Is that the wise thing to do?

The Lingle Administration (through the Housing Finance Development Corporation) appears to be poised to exempt the acquisition of land and buildings for affordable housing (that is to say, Kukui Gardens) from the requirements of an environmental assessment. I guess she gave big business a break with the Superferry - so now she wants to neutralize her mistake in exempting the Superferry by appearing benevolent to those in the housing crunch. The Environmental Council is schedule to hear HFDC's request to amend its rules to allow such an exemption this Friday, October 12, 2007 at 2:00 P.M. See the link below for more details¤tViewtype=2&event=2507240&viewperiod=1

Suppose it goes through and the courts overturn it? It could delay the acquisition of badly needed affordable housing.

I suggest that it would not be the best thing to repeat the Superferry mistake. If there is no environmental impact then a proposal should have no trouble completing an EA. If there is, the problem should be remedied, not paved over.



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