All islands on Environmental Council

LIHUE — Two Kauai residents were named to the 15-member Hawaii State Environmental Council, which provides a bridge between the public and the state Office of Environmental Quality Control.

Barbara Maka‘ala Ka‘aumoana and Theresita Kinnaman are now representing Kauai on the Environmental Council, which took almost a decade to be fully appointed, according to the OEQC.

“The EC is an advisory body to the OEQC, and the committees I am on provide guidance on matters of interest in our communities, such as water quality,” said Ka‘aumoana. “I serve on the Information and Outreach and Rules Committees and hope to both provide information and experience from Kauai as well as learn from the other members.”

She continued: “The Rules Committee will be addressing the need for revisions of the OEQC rules to provide clarity, consistency and relevance to the issues facing Hawaii’s resources. I appreciate Gov. Ige’s support and nomination and will work hard to bring Kauai issues to the council.”

Ka‘aumoana said she’s particularity excited the council has representation from every island, including two from Kauai.

For the first time in the council’s history, a majority of members are from Neighbor Islands, with at least one member from each island — except Niihau — and at least two members from each county.

“Over the past few years, the council has often struggled just to attain quorum at its meetings,” said Joseph Shacat, chair of the Environmental Council. “Thanks to Gov. Ige’s recent appointments, we can now focus on more important issues. I am very much looking forward to working with the new members and making meaningful progress on council initiatives.”

The council also keeps tabs on the state’s environmental goals through the publication of its annual report on the state’s environment and creates the administrative rules for Hawaii’s environmental impact statement process. It also vets state and county agency lists for actions that can be considered exempt from having to prepare EISs or environmental assessments.

“We’re thankful to Gov. Ige for making these appointments as to assure the members represent a truly broad range of our diverse population here in Hawaii,” said OEQC Director Scott Glenn. “Having members physically on the ground on each island to be a resource for those residents will improve our dialogue so that we may be better stewards for our islands and make them more sustainable.”

The rest of the council appointees are Roy Abe (Oahu), Mary Begier (Hawaii), Stephanie Dunbar-Co (Molokai), Scott Glenn (Oahu), Paulette Kaanohi Kaleikini (Oahu), Ian Robin Kaye (Lanai), Robert Parsons (Maui), Charles Prentiss (Oahu), Ron Terry (Hawaii), Puananionaona Thoene (Oahu), Michael Tulang (Hawaii) and Nicole Mahina Tuteur (Oahu).

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