On Thursday, Nov. 21, ELP hosted a colloquium discussing the possibilities of “An Environmental Court in Hawai’i?” Three esteemed panelists shared their and insight and explored the potential of establishing an environmental court in Hawai‘i. The panel featured the Honorable judge Michael D. Wilson a judge of the O‘ahu First Circuit Court’s Criminal Division, former Chairperson of the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) and Governor Neil Abercrombie’s nomination for associate justice to the Hawai‘i Supreme Court. The panel also featured William Tam, the Deputy Director for the Commission on Water Resource Management and Randy Awo, DLNR’s Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) Chief.
The three panelists discussed the possibility of implementing an environmental court in Hawai‘i, looking to the example of other successful environmental courts established in the United States and foreign countries like India. They also discussed the growing success and use of civil penalties through a DNLR administrative hearing process thereby reducing the need to process minor offenses through the criminal justice system.