Aviation noise to persist over Puna

  • A Blue Hawaiian helicopter flies over the runway Tuesday at Hilo International Airport. (HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald)

HILO — Puna residents hoping for regulation of helicopter tours headed to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park will have to settle for resolutions instead.

In response to concerns about excessive noise from helicopters flying over residential areas on their way to the park, state Sen. Russell Ruderman introduced a bill that, in its amended form, would have required the state Department of Health to conduct a study on the impact of aviation noise on Hawaii residents.

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That bill passed the Senate but didn’t get a reading in the House Finance Committee.

Meanwhile, the Senate and House passed resolutions requesting the Federal Aviation Administration to complete air tour management plans for national parks in the state. The measures were introduced by Sen. Kai Kahele, D-Hilo, and Rep. Mark Nakashima, D-Hamakua.

On Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Government Operations passed a House concurrent resolution, also introduced by Nakashima, making the same request. It also asks tour companies to limit flights to daylight hours.

The resolution, which acts as a request rather than a mandate, will be sent to the Senate floor for a vote.

Ruderman, D-Puna, Kau, said he is disappointed the Legislature settled for resolutions instead of passing the bill. He is vice chairman of the government operations committee.

Ruderman said he might introduce another measure next year.

“I won’t be giving up on the issue,” he said. “It’s a huge issue for my district.”

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Concurrent resolutions require approval in the House and Senate.

Email Tom Callis at tcallis@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

  1. Who Thought April 22, 2018 8:21 pm

    Wow, there actually is hope that private businesses can do business in Hawaii without the over-reaching government squashing them with over regulations!!!!


  2. Brdy P. April 23, 2018 6:27 am

    Thank you Senator Ruderman! Hopefully, the tour companies will hear the message that their flight practices are not respectful.


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