HONOLULU – Gov. Ige has set July 30, 2019 as the date he will sign the new rules for the state Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process. The new rules will take effect on Aug. 9, 2019.
The Office of Environmental Quality Control (OEQC) and State Environmental Council (Council) submitted its final rules to the governor at the beginning of April 2019 after completing a nearly two-year effort to modernize the existing rules.
The governor set the signing date so that all stakeholders have sufficient time to prepare for the adoption of the new rules. The OEQC publication date for The Environmental Notice on Aug. 8, 2019 will be the last issue under the current rules. The Aug. 23, 2019 issue will be the first one for the new rules.
In developing the new rules, the Council prepared four working drafts and held about 30 public meetings, including nine public hearings with at least one on each island.
“These rules strike the right balance to ensure public involvement in government decision making and the disclosure of activities that might affect our environment,” said Gov. David Ige.
“The work that the volunteers on the Environmental Council and the OEQC staff have done to build consensus has been impressive. Setting the date for the end of July will give our state and county agencies time to prepare for the new requirements and to make sure projects have time to comply with the new rules,” said Scott Glenn, director, Office of Environmental Quality Control.
The new rules would repeal the existing Hawai‘i Administrative Rule (HAR) Chapter 11-200 and adopt a new chapter called HAR Chapter 11-200.1. The Council sought to repeal and replace rather than revise the existing rules because the new rules reorganize the structure and make numerous revisions and additions.
The new rules incorporate changes in the statute made by the Legislature and rulings by the Hawai‘i Supreme Court. They also clarify roles and responsibilities in the process, require agencies to publicly list their exemptions on a monthly basis, allow for exemptions for building urban affordable housing in certain circumstances, make considering sea level rise and greenhouse gas emissions explicit, and require a public scoping meeting at the beginning of an EIS, among other changes.
For more information go to the OEQC webpage, which includes links to all of the rules documents and a timeline of the effort: http://health.hawaii.gov/oeqc/rules-update/