A coalition of environmental organizations today withdrew its lawsuit against Gov. Josh Green’s emergency proclamation to stimulate development of affordable housing that they said removed safeguards on protecting the environment, cultural resources and government transparency.

Green issued a third, updated emergency proclamation today that seemed to satisfy Earthjustice, a nonprofit public-interest law organization that sued the state and Green’s former Chief Housing Officer Nani Medeiros, on behalf of the Sierra Club, affordable-housing and Native Hawaiian advocates, the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii and some residents in West Maui.

Green’s original 60-day emergency proclamation, issued July 17, created a new state emergency housing development approval panel intended to get 50,000 homes built faster across the islands.

In response to original criticisms, Green issued an updated emergency proclamation on Sept. 15 that also failed to address the lawsuit’s concerns over suspending state laws requiring public hearings, assessment of environmental impacts and protections for Native Hawaiian burials.

Green’s third emergency proclamation, issued today, reinstates county council oversight over most affordable housing projects, and no longer suspends Hawaii’s Sunshine Law, burial protections and environmental review requirements, according to the groups that sued.

“We are keeping a watchful eye to see what the Green Administration does with this new proclamation,” Kekai Keahi of Na ‘Ohana o Lele Housing Committee, said in a statement. “It is good that they recognized their mistake and removed the worst of the suspensions included in the original emergency proclamation on housing. We are committed to standing watch over every action the administration takes under this new proclamation to ensure the community’s voice is not ignored.”

The suit was withdrawn without prejudice, giving the plaintiffs the option to challenge future changes in future emergency proclamations on housing.

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