The U.S. Department of Energy has scheduled a series of public hearings in September around the state to solicit comment for a “programmatic environmental impact statement” for planned renewable energy projects on different islands and undersea transmission cable to connect them.
A list of the hearing dates and locations can be found at: http://hawaiicleanenergypeis.com/.
The DOE broadened the scope of the analysis to include all forms of renewable energy, energy efficiency, alternative transportation fuels and electrical transportation and distribution. The analysis previously was focused on wind energy projects proposed for Molokai, Lanai and Maui.
At the hearings DOE officials will make presentations on the programmatic EIS process under the National Environmental Policy Act. There also will be a question-and-answer session followed by a formal commenting session, which will be transcribed by a court reporter to ensure that all comments are available for DOE officials to consider during the preparation of the programmatic EIS.
A programmatic EIS differs from a standard EIS in that it is used to evaluate the environmental impacts of broad agency actions, such as the development of programs or the setting of national policies.
The programmatic EIS will allow the DOE to develop guidance that it would use in making future decisions on whether to fund projects or take other actions to support the state in meeting its clean energy goals. The DOE would need to prepare separate environmental review to comply with NEPA for any such future decision.
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