Thanks to Henry Curtis & Larry Geller’s Disappeared News for flagging comments by House Majority Leader Pono Chong on SB755, the bill which creates “temporary” exemptions from state environmental laws to speed development of certain types of projects.
Rep. Chong argues that the exemptions really don’t mean much because these projects still have to comply with federal statutes or undergo other public reviews. Okay, I might disagree, but it’s not an unreasonable or surprising position.
But then Rep. Chong slips off the reservation. Suddenly Chong goes far beyond SB755 by arguing that these exemptions should be permanent, and that legislators “are simply streamlining the environmental redundancies.”
Whoa, if that’s what Rep. Chong intends, then critics of the bill were certainly correct to be paranoid about the potential for environmental mischief.
Rep. Chong then winds up by charging community groups with abusing environmental laws by, of all outrageous things, trying to enforce them!
According to the transcript:
I have seen many cases, where people who don’t want, a project or a development nearby, use the environmental permitting process, in the legal tiddlywinks, to kill, another project nearby. They know there’s no environmental impact, but yet, they use the process, to kill the project. And, its ironic that we want to protect the environment but we have no problem, abusing, the laws, when it suits us.
In the process of trying to defend passage of SB755, he seems to have exposed much more of the political intentions behind it. In that, at least, he has done a service.