Many islands, islets and atolls in the North Pacific Ocean comprise the State of Hawaii, located approximately 2,300 miles west of the U.S. Mainland, in the UTC/GMT-10 time zone. The eight major Windward Islands, from south to north, are the Island of Hawaii, (also called "Big Island."), Maui, Kahoolawe, Lanai, Molokai, Oahu, Kauai and Niihau. Honolulu, on Oahu, is the state capital.
Disasters in the State of Hawaii include earthquakes, tsunamis, severe storms, flash flooding, landslides and mudslides.
Federal Environmental Requirements and Agencies
Compliance with the federal National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and other federal laws is required for obligation of FEMA funds. FEMA's Region 9 Environmental Office often consults with the following agencies and others as needed:
- US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)
- NOAA/National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) (Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center)
- US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) EPA has delegated authority to
Hawaii State Department of Health.
State of Hawaii Environmental Requirements and Agencies
The State of Hawaii is responsible for compliance with Office of Environmental Quality Control (OEQC) laws and procedures. The following are helpful links to state agencies and resources for environmental compliance:
- Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA). This is an autonomous state agency and trust with a broad mandate to advocate the interests of native Hawaiians. Protection of environmental and cultural resources is a priority.
- DLNR - floodplain management
Hawaii has 329 threatened and endangered species (273 plants, 56 animals), many of which are endemic to Hawaii, meaning that they are found nowhere else on earth.
No location in the State of Hawaii is more than 28 miles from the coast and almost half the state is within five miles of the shoreline. Activities such as construction and dredging may impact species or their habitat on land or in coral reefs. Habitat and protected species on the west Kona coast of the Big Island are particularly vulnerable.
Earthquakes can cause power outages as well as displace, deform or destroy water pipelines, underground tanks and containers in hospitals and laboratories, which can have have adverse effects on air and water quality.
Lack of staging areas and landfill space on small islands may be an issue for debris disposal following a disaster event.
Historic and Cultural Preservation Issues
Properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places include schools, theaters, museums, cathedrals, hotels and downtown Honolulu. World War II sites from the bombing of Pearl Harbor are federally managed.
Repairs to native Hawaiian burial sites, temples and many other sacred sites (heiau) damaged during disasters require consultation with traditional cultural leaders and the State Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA).
Approximately 130 recognized native Hawaiian organizations, for example, civic groups on each island, Burial Councils and many other cultural and political groups, may also be consulted in disaster recovery projects. FEMA and OHA cooperate on public involvement.
The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) applies to cultural items found on approximately 200,000 acres of Home Lands, which are held in trust for native Hawaiians.
The American Indian Religious Freedom Act (AIRFA) affirms the rights of native Americans, including native Hawaiians, to have access to their sacred places.
Programmatic Agreement for Historic Places
A Programmatic Agreement between FEMA, the Hawaii State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO), the State of Hawaii Department of Defense and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) helps expedite the review of projects proposed for FEMA funding that may impact historic properties, such as those involving repair and restoration.