Kia’i Wai O Ale’Ale’ v. Dept. of Water
Kia’i Wai O Ale’Ale’ v. Dept. of Water (Haw. Supreme Ct., Sept. 23, 2022): The Supreme Court of Hawaii reversed a judgment for the Department of Water, holding that environmental impact reports under the Hawaii Environmental Protection Act (HEPA) must analyze secondary impacts and cannot segment a project analysis from related projects. The Kaua’i Department of Water proposed the installment of a 9,000-foot-long water transmission line and published a final environmental assessment (EA) finding that the project would have no significant environmental impact. Plaintiffs argued that the EA lacked information on the potential impact on water withdrawals and streams in the island’s southeastern watersheds. The state supreme court agreed, holding that the relief line could not be “segmented” from other planned development projects. It also emphasized that HEPA requires the analysis of secondary impacts which can occur outside the immediate physical impacts of the project. Read the full decision here.