POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Feb 9, 2011
Gov. Neil Abercrombie named a former Kauai state senator yesterday to oversee the state's environmental review law, and a union leader to be the state's chief labor negotiator.
Gary Hooser, a former Senate majority leader who gave up his Senate seat for an unsuccessful run in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor last year, will direct the state Office of Environmental Quality Control.
Neil Dietz, port agent for the Seafarers International Union and a vice president of the Hawaii State AFL-CIO, will serve as chief labor negotiator.
Hooser was one of the leading senators calling for an environmental review of the Hawaii Superferry project. Hooser asked the Environmental Council, which advises the OEQC, for an opinion in 2007 that led to an unusual ruling by the council critical of the state's decision to exempt the project.
The OEQC is responsible for administering environmental impact statements.
"I'm hoping our entire state learned its lesson from the Superferry project," Hooser said. "Every project needs to follow the rules. That's really the core of this office."
Dietz, as chief labor negotiator, will represent the state in contract talks with public-sector labor unions.