Environmental, Land Use, and Climate and Sustainability

Hawai’i’s unique natural and cultural resources present both environmental challenges and opportunities for economic growth as the Islands evolve toward a sustainable future. Schlack Ito offers sophisticated and practical advice and counsel to businesses, landowners, individuals and community organizations navigating the complex array of federal, state and county laws governing environmental and land use matters in Hawai’i.

Environmental Law

We represent business and landowners in environmental litigation, arbitration, permit and compliance counseling, and administrative proceedings.

  • We have extensive experience with addressing contaminated properties, including soil and groundwater remediation and cleanup cost recovery litigation.
  • We regularly advise clients on permitting and compliance matters under major federal environmental laws and their state law counterparts, including the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, Emergency Planning & Community Right to Know Act, CERCLA, Endangered Species Act, NEPA, FIFRA, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Toxic Substances Control Act, and the Safe Drinking Water Act.
  • We have served as counsel in mediation of a complex, multi-party enforcement action involving Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, citizens suit, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and six other federal, state and county agencies; represented landowners on the resolution of Clean Water Act section 404 wetlands violations; litigated Clean Water Act violations involving municipal sewage treatment plants; represented a community organization in administrative proceedings involving shoreline permit for $11 million Waikiki municipal project; negotiated NPDES and Clean Air Act permits; and defended a public utility against a citizens suit under federal Endangered Species Act.

Land Use and Land Use Litigation

Schlack Ito relies upon its local knowledge and expertise to assist clients with obtaining land use entitlements.

  • We have substantial experience advising clients concerning federal, State and local governmental agencies and decision-makers and complex and overlapping zoning, planning, building, and administrative processes and requirements.
  • We have assisted clients in land use matters before administrative agencies and trial courts on a variety of matters including shoreline and land use development permits and approvals, Special Management Area approvals, shoreline certifications, Native Hawaiian cultural resource and historic preservation matters, rezonings, conservation district use permits, conditional use permits, development agreements, planned unit developments, variances and subdivision approvals.

Climate and Sustainability

Schlack Ito provides legal advice and counsel to Hawai’i’s emerging clean technology sector. We assist our clients with business formation and corporate law matters, government relations, financing and development, land use and environmental permitting, and proceedings before the Public Utilities Commission. Representative clients include Honolulu Seawater Air Conditioning, LLC, Blue Planet Foundation, Imperium Renewables Hawaii LLC, and Green Energy Team LLC.

  • With the adoption of Act 234, Hawai’i’s climate change law, Hawai’i’s transportation, electricity production, and building and construction sectors can expect regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. Real estate development projects may be subject to emissions reporting requirements and reduction or mitigation of emissions. Rising sea levels may impact the regulation of coastal development projects.
  • Schlack Ito can advise stakeholders participating in efforts to shape Hawai’i’s emerging climate change regulatory regime and assist businesses and landowners not only in achieving compliance with these new laws but also identifying strategic opportunities for business growth.