Lawmakers in Hawaii are considering establishing a specific court to handle environmental matters.
A state Senate bill would create environmental courts within the state's circuit courts.
The goal of the new courts would be to apply environmental law consistently throughout the state. They would settle disputes arising out of environmental regulations and laws.
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the state Department of Land and Natural Resources were among those to testify in support of the bill. They said that having judges and courts with an expertise in environmental law would help prevent costly legal appeals in complex cases.
State Supreme Court staff attorney Elizabeth Zack told lawmakers that the judiciary opposes the bill. She said courts already handle environmental matters quickly and consistently.