In September, 1985, the League of Women Voters of Hawaii urged the LWVUS to oppose and testify against the S 1796 bill, which exempts the H-3 highway project from all federal environmental laws. Reprinted below is that testimony.
"The League of Women Voters of the United States and the League of Women Voters of Hawaii oppose the passage of S. 1796, a bill that exempts an extension of the H-3 highway on the island of Oahu from federal environmental regulations. Our strong opposition is not based on the merits, or lack thereof, of the highway. It is based on our belief that individual projects should not be exempted from federal environmental regulations by specific acts of Congress. The League believes that transportation planning and construction should weigh all social and environmental costs. S. 1796 would undermine this process.
If passed, this bill would set a dangerous precedent. We believe that it is not in the best interest of the country or the Congress for a legislative body to act to bypass laws enacted to protect the public health and the environment. Even in a case where there is a pressing national interest, this would be a serious step. In a case such as this, where there is not pressing national interest in the H-3 highway extension, an exemption is totally unwarranted.
Passage of S 1796, even at the subcommittee level, could encourage many others to deluge the committee and the Congress with requests for special exemptions. Anyone who lost in court, after receiving due process and fair treatment, could turn to Congress for special favors. If individuals find the regulations and standards of environmental laws problematic, we believe the proper course for these individuals is to seek changes in the law. We do not find these regulations problematic and believe they will be rendered useless if special exemptions are given by Congress. Special exemptions make a mockery of the legislative process and can only result in laws devoid of substance. We urge you to oppose this bill."