2012 Act 97 (SB 3003)
Senate Bil 3003 was signed by the Governor on April 30, 2012, becoming Act 97 of the 2012 legislative session, repealed HRS 205-5.1 and -5.2 (that originated in Act 296 of 1983 that created geothermal resource sub-zones and authorized County level geothermal permitting.)
Please click here for a narrative paper describing Act 97 in relation to other laws.
Act 97 "relaxes the restrictions on geothermal development by: requiring geothermal resources exploration and development, as defined in the Act, to be permissible uses in all state land use districts; and repealing provisions relating to geothermal resource subzones and exploratory wells -- the provisions that mandated a 'go-slow' approach to geothermal energy. The intent of Act 97 is to put geothermal resources to use and reduce the negative impacts
of fossil-fuel dependency." Draft report of 2012 Senate Energy and Environment Committee Accomplishments
"Act 296, enacted by the Hawaii State Legislature in 1983, requires the designation of 'geothermal resource subzones' within the State; restricts the production, development and distribution of electricity from geothermal resources to the designated subzones; and requires social, economic, environmental and geologic hazard impact analyses to be made." November 30, 1983, request for financial support to the U.S. Department of Energy from the State Department of Planning and Economic Development for designating geothermal resource subzones.
"The intent of the geothermal subzone designation law, enacted in 1983, was to balance geothermal development in the interest in preserving Hawaii’s unique social and natural environment and to situate geothermal development in areas of the lowest potential environmental impact." Testimony of DLNR Chairperson on SB3003
“HRS § 205-5.1 authorizes the issuance of geothermal resource permits to allow geothermal development activities in geothermal resource subzones established within urban, rural, agricultural, and conservation districts by the Board of Land and Natural Resources in accordance with the procedures set forth in HRS 205-5.2. The purpose of HRS § 205-5.1 and -5.2 is to 'assist in the location of geothermal resources development in areas of the lowest potential environmental impact.'” Medeiros v. Hawaii County Planning Comm'n, 8 Haw. App. 183, 184, 797 P.2d 59, 60 (1990)
"Hawaii's State Legislature in 1983 enacted the Geothermal Resource Subzone Assessment and Designation Law (Act 296-83), determining that the development and exploration of Hawaii's geothermal resources is of statewide concern, and that this interest must be balanced with interests in preserving Hawaii's unique social and natural environment." Yoshihara T. 1985. The Designation of Geothermal Subzones in Hawaii. Transactions : Geothermal Resources Council. 9(1):237-241.
Designation and Regulation of Geothermal Resource Subzones, Hawai`i Administrative Rules (HAR) Tile 13, Chapter 184: "The purpose of this chapter is to establish guidelines and procedures for the designation and regulation of geothermal resource subzones for the exploration, discovery, development, and production of geothermal resources for electrical energy production and distribution within conservation, agricultural, rural, and urban districts. These
guidelines and procedures are intended to assist in designating areas which have potential for geothermal resource development for electrical energy production and which have an acceptable balance of the relationships of geothermal development to uses allowed in the land use classifications, to present uses of surrounding lands, to potential benefits and impacts."
“Administrative Rule § 13-184-6 substantially adopts the criteria for establishing a geothermal resources subzone set forth by the legislature in HRS 205-5.2(b) (1985). The following subsection, HRS 205-5.2(c), states '[m]ethods for assessing the factors in subsection (b) shall be left to the discretion of the board and may be based on currently available public information.' Thus, the statutory scheme explicitly contemplates the Board's use of its discretion in determining the appropriate boundaries for designation of the geothermal resource subzone.” Dedman v. Bd. of Land & Natural Res., 69 Haw. 255, 264, 740 P.2d 28, 34 (1987)
2011 Act 55 (SB 1555)
2011 Senate Bill 1555, signed into law on June 23, 2011, as Act 55, created a new Chapter 171C of the Hawai`i Revised Statutes named the Public Land Development Corporation (PLDC.) According to a Legislative Reference Bureau memorandum dated October 16, 2012, the new law broadly exempts PLDC from statutes, ordinances, charter provisions, and rules relating to land use; from county authority to oversee zoning; from construction standards (fire and building codes); from paying state taxes; and from conducting public hearings for its projects.