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Breaking News

New rules for natural resource violations

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources will hold an informational public meeting tomorrow on draft rules to establish a civil penalty system to process the DLNR’s non-criminal enforcement cases.

The DLNR plans to amend Hawai‘i Administrative Rules, Title 13, Chapter 13-1, to add a new Subchapter 7, Civil Resource Violations System.

The new subchapter will allow the DLNR to issue citations for an alleged civil resource violation and assess an administrative penalty for violations according to a penalty schedule adopted by the Board of Land and Natural Resources, a state news release says.

The individual in violation will then be summoned to answer the citation by choosing three options: pay the fine, request mitigation or contest the citation.

“The civil penalty system to be set up under these draft rules is an important part of our new DLNR strategic plan and will involve stakeholders and communities,” Laura Thielen, DLNR chairperson, said in a statement. “We want to engage the public to help us finalize this draft and prepare for the rule-making process. We believe that public participation will be helpful to us and give us different perspectives.”

Currently, the DLNR handles enforcement cases through criminal prosecution or an administrative law proceeding.

According to the request for approval to hold statewide public meetings to amend the rules, the DLNR feels many resource violations are not appropriate for criminal prosecution nor a productive use of staff time and state resources.

“People in Hawai‘i care deeply about our natural and cultural resources and want us to a better job in protecting them and enforcing against violations that harm our lands and environment,” Thielen said in the news release. “We invite people to attend these information meetings and gain a better understanding of our enforcement action plan and to provide ideas to improve that plan.”

The informational meeting will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., tomorrow, at the Lihu‘e State Office Building, 2nd Floor, Conference Room C.

Written comments can be submitted at the meeting or sent to Department of Land and Natural Resources, Administrative Proceedings Office, 1151 Punchbowl Street, Room 130, Honolulu, HI 96813, or by e-mail to apo.dlnr@hawaii.gov.

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