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The Office of Environmental Quality Control (OEQC) facilitates Hawaiʻi’s environmental review process (commonly known as HEPA), pursuant to Chapter 343, Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes.

The office announces the availability of environmental assessments (EAs) and environmental impact statements (EISs) for public review and comment in its semi-monthly publication, The Environmental Notice. Please click that link and navigate to the most recent issue to find notifications of open public comment periods for pending EAs and EISs, as well as summaries of proposed actions and details of upcoming EIS public scoping meetings.  OEQC staff also review and comment on these documents and provide assistance throughout the environmental review process.

The current rules for the HEPA process, HAR Chapter 11-200.1, have been in effect since Aug. 9, 2019, after Governor Ige signed them on July 30, 2019.  If you are interested in a discussion of the ideas and concepts behind the changes from the repealed HAR Chapter 11-200 to the recently adopted HAR Chapter 11-200.1, please review the Version 2.0 Rationale document here: http://oeqc2.doh.hawaii.gov/Laws/v2.0-Proposed-HAR-11-200.1-Rules-Rationale_Final.pdf  If you would like details on the actual changes, please review the unofficial Ramseyer version in Appendix 2 of the Rationale document here: http://oeqc2.doh.hawaii.gov/Laws/v2.0-Proposed-HAR-11-200.1-Rules-Rationale-App-2-Ramseyer-Unofficial_96-2.0.pdf

Note: The webmap has been temporarily removed while we rework the maps and data. If you have further questions about this, please contact OEQC directly.

The Environmental Notice

The Environmental Notice is published on the 8th and 23rd of each month and includes actions undergoing environmental review in Hawaiʻi, habitat conservation plans, safe harbor agreements, coastal zone and shoreline notices, some federal EAs and EISs under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and more. Current and previous issues are online here.

Online Library of EAs and EISs

Browse the office’s online library of draft and final environmental assessments and environmental impact statements, as well as withdrawals, acceptances, and supplemental determinations.  Please be aware that the library is composed of 3 sections, that relate to 3 different rules that governed the process over time (pre-1996, 1996-2019, 2019-present).

Exemptions

Agencies may declare minor or routine actions that trigger Hawaiʻi environmental review, whether proposed by themselves or by applicants, exempt from the requirement to prepare an environmental assessment. To exempt an action, the agency may either: (1) assert that the specific activity does not have the potential to adversely affect the environment [i.e., be considered “de minimis“], or (2) show that it falls within one of the 10 General types of action established in HAR § 11-200.1-15(c) and then obtain the advice of other agencies or individuals with jurisdiction or expertise on the exemption; however, agencies always have the discretion to choose whether or not to exempt a particular action. When agencies make such a type (2) exemption, they are required to A) submit a monthly list of such determinations for inclusion in the issue of The Environmental Notice that is published on the 8th of the following month (look to the Publication Calendar for submittal deadlines), and B) maintain their exemption notice in their files and provide it for review upon request by the public. Agencies can guide their exemption determinations by identifying the activity on their Environmental Council-concurred exemption list. 

GuidanceForms

Find the OEQC’s citizen’s guide to Hawaiʻi’s environmental policy act (HEPA), the more detailed guidebook, the 2020 publication calendar for The Environmental Notice, agency and applicant publication forms, guidance for preparing documents under HEPA, and more.  If you are prompted to log in, click CANCEL or try clearing your internet browser’s cookies.

Laws

Click here for OEQC’s unofficial compilation of Hawaiʻi’s environmental review laws. Relevant statutes include: Chapter 341, Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes (HRS), which created the OEQC, the Environmental Council, and the Environmental Center; Chapter 343, HRS, on environmental impact statements; and Chapter 344, HRS, on the state environmental policy. Processes to implement these statutes are established in Chapter 11-200.1, Hawaiʻi Administrative Rules (HAR), on environmental impact statements, and Chapter 11-201, HAR on the Environmental Council.

Environmental Impact Statement Rules Update

In 2019, the Environmental Council repealed HAR Chapter 11-200 and adopted HAR Chapter 11-200.1. This chapter establishes the procedures, content requirements, criteria, and definitions for applying Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes (HRS) Chapter 343, the environmental impact statement law. The rules update page includes links to Council meeting agendas and minutes, draft rules documents, and a timeline of events.

The Environmental Council

The Council serves as a liaison between the OEQC and the public on matters concerning ecology and environmental quality. The Council also monitors the progress of state, county, and federal agencies in achieving the State’s environmental goals and policies. Importantly, pursuant to HRS Section 343-6, the Council has rule-making authority over the HEPA process. Its 15 members are appointed by the governor. Agendas and minutes for their monthly meetings (open to the public) can be found here, and an archive of their annual reports is online here.

The Environmental Center

The University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa Water Resources Research Center is designated as an environmental center to assist the OEQC and the Environmental Council and to stimulate, expand, and coordinate the education, research, and service efforts of the university relating to ecological relationships, natural resources, and environmental quality, with special relation to human needs and social institutions.

(808) 586-4185 • [email protected]
235 South Beretania Street, Suite 702 • Honolulu, Hawaiʻi 96813