October 1988 Home   Newsletters

December 1988

March 1989

League Looks toward 1989 Legislative Session
From the President (Anne Lee)
Mary Anne Raywid Coming in January
New LWVUS Agriculture Position
People's Water Conference #5 - Economics of Water
Constitutional Amendment Ballot #4: EEZ and HCZM (Kiyoko Nitz)
What about Timing Election Results? (Debbie Kimball)

Constitutional Amendment Ballot #4: EEZ and HCZM

The requirement that federal activities be conducted in a manner consistent with federally approved state coastal management programs was conceived by Congress as a major incentive for states to develop and maintain such programs. Hawai'i has well-developed "federal consistency review" procedures as a part of the Hawai'i Coastal Zone Management (HCZM) Program.

However, in January of 1984, the Supreme Court, in a narrow decision which overturned two lower Federal courts, seriously misinterpreted the CZMA (Coastal Zone Management Act) and its legislative history. The Court found that Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) oil and gas lease sales were not subject to the consistency provisions of the CZMA.

Federal administration -officials now claim that any federal activity outside a state's coastal zone is exempt from the review for consistency with a federally approved coastal zone management program. Potentially no longer subject to consistency review, according to them, are federal leasing of offshore lands for the extraction of ocean minerals, ocean dumping of contaminated dredged soils, designation of ocean sites for incineration of hazardous wastes, certain Army Corps of Engineers dredging activities, and the sale or transfer of federal lands for development.

Though opponents of federal consistency argue that it constitutes a state veto over federal programs, prior to the Supreme Court decision, states had not concurred with consistency determinations in only 3%6 of over 300 federal activities reviewed, according to Barbara Fagan, Coastal Specialist, LWV/Massachusetts.

Hawai'i has a 197-mile wide (200 miles minus 3 miles state water) federal Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) "ring" surrounding the islands. Whether we can review the activities that occur in that ring for consistency with Hawai'i's laws, and voice objections if necessary, is an important issue. Our representatives to the Congress and the state legislature have been working to restore the federal consistency review by the state and to extend that authority over to the EEZ.

The recently passed proposed amendment to the State Constitution concerning the Hawai'i's assertion of its rights in its exclusive economic zone represents an effort to establish the state's readiness to take part in the decisions affecting the EEZ when the federal consistency provision is reauthorized and, we hope, extended to the EEZ.

The CZM Program was dropped from the LWVUS priority list, but remains one of the most important rights of coastal states. The reauthorization of the Coastal Zone Management Act will come up in Congress in 1990.

Kiyoko Nitz

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