The Hawaii Office of Environmental Quality Control has extended the commenting period for the state’s plan to build a replacement facility for the crumbling Oahu Community Correctional Center.

Comments on the environmental impact statement preparation notice are now being accepted through Nov. 22 — 30 days longer than originally planned.

The change was prompted by a complaint filed by Life of the Land, a Honolulu-based nonprofit, which pointed out that the Hawaii Revised Statute’s Chapter 353 calls for a commenting period to last 60 days when the “development or expansion” of any correctional facilities is involved.

But Scott Glenn, the director of the Office of Environmental Quality Control, wrote to Life of the Land last week, clarifying that the statute’s 60-day requirement kicks in only “when the governor chooses to negotiate with any person for the development or expansion of such a facility outside of the standard state procurement process.”

Still, the commenting period was extended after Gov. David Ige determined that applying the 60-day requirement was “in the spirit of the EIS law.”

According to the preparation notice, which was published Sept. 23, the Hawaii Department of Accounting and General Services is considering two options: building a new OCCC at the current 16-acre site in Kalihi or on state land where the Halawa Correctional Facility is located.

DAGS and the Hawaii Department of Public Safety are also exploring a third option of relocating OCCC to an alternative location that’s yet to be identified by a team of consultants.

Read Civil Beat’s ongoing coverage on how Hawaii manages its troubled, overcrowded prison system here.

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