Friday, September 30, 2011


Ian Lind’s “unanswered questions” article on Gov’s emergency declaration actually answers the questions

by Larry Geller

Ian Lind provided a carefully thought-out and detailed analysis of the need for Governor Abercrombie’s controversial emergency decree in Unanswered questions remain about governor’s emergency declarations (, 9/30/2011) that actually doesn’t leave very much unanswered. Need? No need.

I think a reasonable person, reading that the emergency declaration was unnecessary, would conclude that the Governor’s action was a mistake:

According to the staff submittal, the Office of Environmental Quality Control had already agreed that actions responding to and mitigating hazardous conditions from unexploded ordnance are exempt from preparing an environmental assessment “because they will involve operations, repairs or maintenance of existing facilities and topographical features, which include the mitigation of existing hazards, that involve negligible or no expansion or change of use beyond that previously existing.”

The state had already been routinely granting right-of-entry for these activities since the late 1990′s, the report noted. Delays in processing permits for these activities had already resulted in a loss of available federal funds in one instance, although those funds were later restored, so the current proposal was to streamline the approval process, no invent a whole new process.

DLNR had been working closely with the Army Corps of Engineers, the Army, the Department of Health, and other agencies to facilitate the explosives removal work.

So the Governor has goofed. What should he do? If he admits it was a mistake, he will be roundly chastised for it by state Republicans and others. If he doesn’t, he will be accused of arrogance and/or inexperience and perhaps worse, but in time, the fickle press will move on to other things. Who knows, we might see more emergency decrees, particularly with APEC approaching in November. So probably, the “emergency” will persist as it fades from public consciousness.

Another possibility is that there is a reason we don’t yet know for suspending that long list of state laws. APEC? Maybe we’ll find out, maybe we won’t.

No matter how this issue is examined, bottom line is that it is very poor governance, at best.

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