Woohoo! Hawaii may finally fix its flawed environmental reviews, if this bill (HB2510) passes.
Fact is, we've tried several times before...back in 06, when an identical bill WAS passed, and then implementation was aborted due to funding snafus. And, in the mid-1990s some of us tried to add 'cumulative' impacts to the EIS rules…which seemed like a major flaw. (Duh!)
Still, "the best practices for environmental assessment globally and nationally have changed dramatically since Hawaii's laws were written, and Hawaii has not optimized the opportunities to learn from these developments."
That's not me talkin'...its from HB2510's 'whereas' section.
And, although the 'ecological footprint' framework isn't mentioned, we can hope that the proposed 2-year study process will highlight the crucial advances in sustainability assessment methods that can be incorporated in a footprinting tool for Hawaii.
Hey, and, wouldn't it be grand it yours truly got to participate on the "interdisciplinary team" which this bill calls for.
Yup, this is a UH deal, yet it also calls for " other technical experts in the field of environmental management and planning."
In a nutshell, the UH Environmental Center will conduct a study on the State's environmental review process. "This study shall:
- Examine the effectiveness of the current environmental review system created by chapters 341, 343, and 344, Hawaii Revised Statutes;
- Assess the unique environmental, economic, social, and cultural issues in Hawaii that should be incorporated into an environmental review system;
- Address larger concerns and interests related to sustainable development, global environmental change, and disaster risk reduction; and
- Develop a strategy, including legislative recommendations, for modernizing Hawaii's environmental review system so that it meets international and national best practices standards."
OK, then. Let's get on with it!
(Hat tip to Vivian Lerner...)