Luminate Law

Environmental and Natural Resources

Environmental and Natural Resources

We help clients navigate the complex web of state and federal environmental laws, including the following regulatory schemes:

  • National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Hawaii Environmental Policy Act (HEPA, HRS chapter 343) - We advise on compliance with all aspects of the environmental review process, including the necessity and sufficiency of environmental assessments (EA) and environmental impact statements (EIS).
  • Comprehensive Environmental Recovery, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and Hawaii Environmental Response Law (HERL, HRS chapter 128D) - We review Phase I and II reports and advise on satisfaction of CERCLA and HERL requirements in the cleanup of brownfield properties.
  • Clean Water Act and Hawaii Water Pollution law (HRS chapter 342D) - We counsel clients on the NPDES permitting process and advise on compliance with the CWA and HRS chapter 342D.
  • Hawaii Water Rights - We represent clients before the Commission on Water Resources Management in matters concerning instream flow standards and well permits. We also help clients understand their rights and obligations under Hawaii's unique system of water law.

We are experienced in the administrative process relating to the various regimes of environmental regulation, including the contested case process under Hawaii administrative law.  If necessary, we represent clients in litigation to obtain relief in environmental matters.

Representative Experience

  • Helped publicly-traded retail company navigate through requirements of NEPA and HEPA in connection with development of new store; Developed strategies to pre-empt legal challenges to project under HEPA
  • Represented major Hawaii landowner in proceedings before the Commission and Water Resource Management in proceedings involving petition to amend interim instream flow standards and applications for water use permits
  • Coordinated due diligence of permitting and other environmental regulatory issues relating to wind farm project
  • Assisted major Kauai landowner in obtaining NPDES permit for irrigation system
  • Obtained favorable settlement on behalf of non-profit group that was sued for non-compliance with EIS requirements in connection with project to eradicate invasive species
  • Successfully obtained dismissal of EIS lawsuit alleging failure to conduct EIS in connection with restoration of East Honolulu's last remaining freshwater spring
  • Represented coalition of transportation providers in lawsuit challenging EIS for public transit project

Speaking Engagements & Presentations

  • Chair of 2017 Hawaii Water Law Seminar (Elijah Yip)


  • Noa Ching & Michelle Oh, Ala Loop and the Private Right of Action under Hawai’i Constitution Article XI, Section 9: Charting a Path toward a Cohesive Enforcement Scheme, 33 U. Haw. L. Rev. 367 (2010)
  • Michelle Oh, A Self-Executing Article XI, Section 9-–The Door For a Bivens Action for Environmental Rights? 34 U. Haw. L. Rev. 187 (2012)

Practice Areas