Hawaii Senate Revives Interisland Undersea Cable Bill

Honolulu Civil Beat - May 1, 2012

The Senate voted to bring back to life Senate Bill 2785 — the undersea cable bill.

The controversial bill had previously stalled in conference committee. Senators on Tuesday agreed to reconsider the last amendments made by the House.
Sen. Mike Gabbard, chair of the Energy and Environment Committee, made floor comments, urging his colleagues to support the move:

“It’s important to clarify that this bill does not — and I repeat, does not — require any interisland transmission cable to be built. … It ensures that if — and I repeat, if — an interisland transmission cable is built, then it will be regulated by the (Public Utilities Commission) as a cable utility.

“The bill does not fast-track any project and it certainly does not short-circuit any environmental review or public input. If this bill doesn’t pass, a developer could still build an interisland transmission cable, but, the cable company would not be subject to regulation by the PUC.”

Sens. Sam Slom, Les Ihara and Suzanne Chun Oakland voted against the move. The measure is slated for final reading Thursday.