Keep the North Shore Country Files Suit Against Turtle Bay Resort’s Environmental Study

Kawela Bay (courtesy of Keep the North Shore Country)
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Kawela Bay (courtesy of Keep the North Shore Country)

On Monday, December 2, Keep The North Shore Country (“KNSC”) filed a lawsuit asking the Circuit Court to require Turtle Bay Resort, LLC, to properly study the environmental impacts of its proposed expansion plan. KNSC requests Turtle Bay’s Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (“SEIS”) be set aside for five specific reasons:

  • One, Turtle Bay failed to accurately describe the proposed project and therefore it is impossible to legally evaluate the project’s actual environmental impacts;
  • Two, Turtle Bay uses the “Full Build Out” alternative from 1985 for the purpose of environmental impact comparisons, even though Turtle Bay has no intention of pursuing the “Full Build Out,” thereby skewing the results;
  • Three, the SEIS does not adequately and vigorously evaluate a “No Action” alternative as specifically required under the law;
  • Four, the SEIS fails to adequately evaluate cumulative traffic impacts;
  • Five, the SEIS violates the law by failing to properly evaluate the impacts for wetlands, marine water quality and threatened and endangered species.

In 2010, the Hawai`i Supreme Court determined a 1985 Environmental Impact Statement was no longer valid for the Turtle Bay Resort’s planned expansion. KNSC and Sierra Club, Hawaii Chapter were the plaintiffs in that case, known as Unite Here! vs. City & County of Honolulu.


The Final SEIS was accepted by the City & County of Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting (“DPP”) on October 3, 2013 and public notification of this decision was given on October 23, 2013.

KNSC provided extensive comments to the Department of Planning and Permitting and Turtle Bay on the Draft SEIS, including grave concerns about the lack of proper baseline analysis: the “No Action” alternative.

Unfortunately, the Final SEIS remains fatally flawed and should have been rejected by DPP.

More information on Keep the North Shore Country can be found at





  1. Yes the SEIS has no fresh water quality studies, no survey of invertebrates and no survey of freshwater aquatic life. The botanical studies were very weak, neglecting to survey the Punuho'olapa Marsh and not documenting at least one species of plant protected under the endangered species act. The SEIS also claims that there is "no formal documentation of the success or failure of turtle nesting ion the shoreline at Turtle Bay while there is AMPLE evidence that has been collected by NOAA and USFWS. While disclosure is a good thing, how will the revelation that the Proposed Action may result in female Hawaiian Monk Seals being discouraged from pupping at Turtle Bay mesh with the likelihood of that are being designated Critical Habitat for monk seals? Turtle Bay is home to four species of endangered water bird, threatened and endangered turtles, seals, bats, plants as well as migratory birds and other native birds and endemic plants along with candidate species for the Endangered Species Act, two species of Hawaiian yellow faced bee. It is a coastal wetland.

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