RAPID/Geothermal/Hawaii/Environment

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Regulatory and Permitting Information Desktop Toolkit

Hawaii Geothermal Environmental Review(9-HI)

All projects must follow the Hawaii Environmental Policy Act (HEPA) environmental review that propose to use state or county lands or funds, or lands within conservation districts, shoreline areas, historic sites, in the Waikiki Special District or proposing a wastewater system, waste-to-energy facility, landfill, oil refinery, or power generating facility. The process is regulated by the Hawaii Department of Health Office of Environmental Quality Control (OECQ) under H.R.S. 343 and H.A.R. 11-200. A determination must be made whether the proposed activity will have a significant impact under H.A.R. 11-200-12. To make this determination, the developer must follow the Environmental Assessment (EA) process.

The Environmental Assessment process is regulated by the OECQ under H.A.R. 11-200-10. The process involves review and approval by OECQ of a draft EA, public notice and comment, and a determination if the proposed activity will have a significant impact. If OECQ determines the proposed activity will not have a significant impact, the draft EA is revised and a final EA is produced subject to OECQ approval. Upon approval the OECQ will issue a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI).

If the OECQ does not issue a FONSI, the developer must follow the EIS Process under H.A.R. 11-200-16. The process involves review and approval by OECQ of a draft EIS, public notice and comment, and completion of environmental studies and agency consultation. The draft EIS is then revised and a final EIS is produced subject to OECQ approval.

More Information

Determine Which State and Federal Permits Apply

Use this overview flowchart and following steps to learn which federal and state permits apply to your projects.

Permitting at a Glance

Hawaii Federal

Environmental Review Process: Hawaii Environmental Policy Act (HEPA) National Environmental Policy Act
Environmental Review Process Agency: Hawaii Department of Health Office of Environmental Quality Control United States Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Department of Energy, United States Department of Defense
Type of Environmental Review (Leasing Stage): None Typically an Environmental Assessment (EA) is conducted for individual leases. An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) may be required for programmatic environmental reviews or when reviewing multiple lease parcels in a single review.
Type of Environmental Review (Non-Invasive Exploration): None A categorical exclusion is available for all activities covered under a Notice of Intent to Conduct Geophysical Exploration (NOI), subject to extraordinary circumstance review. Where the activity results in an extraordinary circumstance, an EA or EIS is required.
Type of Environmental Review (Invasive Exploration): HEPA Process Temperature Gradient Holes are permitted under a categorical exclusion and subject to the same conditions as non-invasive exploration as discussed above. Any other exploration drilling activity to confirm the existence of a geothermal resource will likely require an EA.
Type of Environmental Review (Drilling): HEPA Process Production drilling activities will likely require an EA, but depending on the nature of the specific project, could require an EIS.
Type of Environmental Review (Power Plant Siting): HEPA Process Most Plans of Utilization (POU)s require an EA or EIS.

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