Friday, February 19, 2016

USA, Hawaii: Legislation to Streamline Geothermal Development Moves Forward

Bill limiting county oversight advances (Hawaii Tribune Herald)

Lawmakers have advanced a bill curbing the ability of counties to pass their own laws regulating geothermal power plants in Hawaii.

Three Senate committees voted late Wednesday afternoon in favor of an amended version of SB 2535, which gives the state exclusive authority to regulate “geothermal resources development and geothermal resources exploration,” unless it delegates that power to the counties.

It will next be sent to the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

Sen. Lorraine Inouye, the bill’s main sponsor, said she thinks the state is the proper authority to regulate drilling and other geothermal activities, though she acknowledged Puna Geothermal Venture — the state’s only geothermal power plant operator — requested that she introduce the legislation.