Court orders Hawaii agency to follow water heater mandate

Court orders Hawaii agency to follow water heater mandate
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HILO, Hawaii (AP) - A Hawaii court has ordered the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism to follow the state law that requires all new single-family homes to have solar water heaters.

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports Judge Jeffrey Crabtree ruled this week that the law allows the agency discretion to consider variances for gas water heaters only on a case-by-case basis.

Environmental law organization Earthjustice had sued the department on behalf of Hawaii Solar Energy Association and Sierra Club, claiming it “rubber-stamped” almost all variance requests.

The department has approved more than 6,500 exemptions since the law was enacted 11 years ago.

Department spokesman Alan Yonan says the agency was “making a good faith effort to follow the statute.”

He says the state attorney general will decide whether to appeal the ruling.

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