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Environmental Impact Statement – County

A. Legal Authority

  • Chapter 343, HRS, as amended, Environmental Impact Statements
  • Chapter 205A, HRS, as amended, Coastal Zone Management
  • Title 11, Chapter 200, HAR, Environmental Impact Statement Administrative Rules
  • Charters of the County of Kauai, City and County of Honolulu, County of Maui, and County of Hawaiʻi
  • County Ordinances of the County of Kauai, City and County of Honolulu, County of Maui, and County of Hawaiʻi


B. Purpose

The requirements of Chapter 343, HRS, apply to county agencies and actions in the same manner as to state agencies and actions. For convenient reference, the purpose of the environmental review process is briefly reiterated here. For a more detailed discussion, please refer to the state EIS section.

The Hawaiʻi Environmental Impact Statement law, Chapter 343, HRS, establishes a system of environmental review at the state and county levels that is intended to ensure that environmental concerns are given appropriate consideration in decision making, along with relevant economic and technical issues. The law also assures the public the right to participate in the planning of projects that may affect their community. This is accomplished by first preparing an Environmental Assessment (EA), an information sharing document, to evaluate whether an action may have a significant environmental effect. If the action is determined to have a significant effect, then a more detailed Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) must be prepared. Both the EA and the EIS provide information which describes the proposed project and discloses the potential environmental effects, as well as the effects of a proposed action on the economic and social welfare of the community and the state. In addition, information is presented to evaluate the effects of the economic activities arising out of the proposed action, any measures proposed to minimize or mitigate adverse effects and the considered alternatives to the action and their effects. Applicants must also carry out a cultural impact assessment for inclusion in the document.

The state environmental review process is modeled on the federal National Environmental Policy Act. If both federal and state agencies are involved with approving the proposed project, the environmental review must be coordinated.

C. Applicability to Aquaculture

An aquaculture project involving any of the following actions will require environmental review:

  • Use of county lands or funds, other than funds to be used for feasibility or planning studies for possible future programs or projects which an agency has not approved;
  • Development on land within the county designated Special Management Area (see Special Management Area Use Permit section);
  • Use within the shoreline area as defined in §205A-41, HRS (see Shoreline Setback Variance section);
  • Use within any historic site as designated in the National Register of Historic Properties or the Hawaiʻi Register of Historic Places as provided for in the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, 16 USC 470, as amended, or Chapter 6E, HRS; or
  • Amendment of existing county general plans where such amendment would result in a designation other than agriculture, conservation or preservation.

D. Administering Agency

In general, actions triggering environmental review at the county level are divided into two groups, Applicant Actions and Agency Actions.

  • Applicant Actions – The county agency to which the applicant first applies for any permit connected with a non-exempt activity is responsible for determining the need for an EA or EIS and for acceptance of the final environmental review document.
  • Agency Actions – For government initiated actions the department proposing the project is responsible for determining the need for an EA or EIS. The Mayor of the county is responsible for the acceptance of the final environmental review document.

For both agency and applicant actions, the processing of the EA and EIS is coordinated between the affected county department and the Office of Environmental Quality Control (OEQC).

E. Information Requirements

See generally state EIS section.

F. Public Participation

See the state EIS section.

G. Process Time

See the state EIS section.

H. Sequence of Filing

An EA, and if required an EIS, should be prepared very early on in the planning process to evaluate the significance of a proposed action, solicit stakeholder input, and ensure the timely processing of all required permits.

I. Cost

There is no filing fee associated with the preparation and processing of the environmental review documents. The cost will depend upon the scope and complexity of the proposed activity and the nature of the affected environment.

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Department of Agriculture – Aquaculture and Livestock Services
99-941 Halawa Valley Street
Aiea, Hawaiʻi 96701-5602
Phone: 808-483-7130
Fax: 808-483-7110
Web site:


Pacific Region Aquaculture and Coastal Resource Hub
2525 Correa Road, HIG 238
Honolulu, HI 96822
Phone: (808) 956-7031

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