CLIMATE JUSTICE FOR ALL 

Climate change is impacting Hawaiʻi and experts warn it will only get worse. We are already experiencing very active hurricane seasons, beach and coastal erosion creating loss of homes and roads, rain bombs, and record-breaking temperatures. The Sierra Club of Hawaiʻi is dedicated to ensuring a just future for Hawaiʻi in the face of a changing climate. 


We will be tracking bills in these main issue areas, as well as DLNR funding bills, waste and recycling, and coalition bills in our 2019 Priority Bill List.


Carbon Free Hawaiʻi

Hawai‘i is already leading the nation with our goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2045 but we must do more to ensure the transition to clean energy is accelerated and equitable. Both the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Hawaiʻi Climate Change Commission support carbon pricing as the most effective action to reduce emissions. The Sierra Club of Hawaiʻi is prioritizing:

  • Carbon pricing study

    • HB 1584 - [Support] Appropriates funds to the University of Hawaiʻi to conduct a comprehensive study of a statewide carbon tax.

  • Coal-free by 2023

    • SB 700 - [Support] Prohibits the issuance of covered source air permits for coal-burning electricity generation facilities after 2022.

    • HB 563 - [Support] Prohibits the approval of new power purchase agreements for electricity generated from coal.

  • Solar-ready new homes

    • SB 1289 - [Support] Requires a rooftop solar energy generation system to be installed on all new single-family residential dwellings that are not granted a variance beginning on 1/1/2022.

  • Carbon sequestration and offset

    • HB 1483 - [Support] Establishes the Green Urban Core Pilot Project to develop a plan to increase the number of trees and vegetation in urban areas to sequester greenhouse gases and improve visual appearance.

    • SB 129 - [Support] Requires state agencies to participate in a carbon offset program to offset carbon emissions caused by their employees' air travel. Requires DLNR to establish and administer a carbon offset program.

Free the Streams

For generations, water has been unjustly diverted from lifegiving streams throughout the islands. Water once used to support sugar plantations continues to be diverted by plantation owners turned real estate investors or has been passed on from landowner to landowner without any assessment of water needs. Hawaiʻi’s streams, in their original state, hold enough water to support native ecosystems, subsistence farming, cultural practices, renewable energy, and large scale agriculture. The Sierra Club of Hawaiʻi is prioritizing:

  • Protecting streams

    • HB 848 - [Support] Prohibits dispositions authorizing the diversion of water from streams unless certain conditions are met. Requires funds collected through such dispositions to be deposited into the Forest Stewardship Fund, provided that the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and Office of Hawaiian Affairs each receive their constitutionally-entitled share.

    • HB 1573 - [Support] Prohibits dispositions that authorize diverting water from East Maui county streams for commercial purposes, except for existing water uses by the Maui County Department of Water Supply.

    • SB 915 - [Support] Prohibits BLNR from approving dispositions that authorize the diversion of water from streams except under specified criteria. Deposits moneys collected via land dispositions that authorize the diversion of water from streams into the forest stewardship fund.

    • SB 1488 - [Support] Prohibits dispositions that authorize diverting water from East Maui county streams for commercial purposes, except for existing water uses by the Maui County Department of Water Supply.

  • Opposing extensions of stream diversions

    • HB 1326 - [Oppose] Allows holdover permits to continue pending completion of contested case proceedings. Removes repeal and reenactment provisions relating to section 171-58(c), Hawaii Revised Statutes.

    • SB 1116 - [Oppose] Allows holdovers of revocable water permits to continue until the pending application for a lease is resolved. Requires prompt execution of contested case proceedings for 1-year holdovers. Allows holdovers to continue pending completion of contested case proceedings. Removes repeal and reenactment provisions relating to section 171-58(c), Hawaii Revised Statutes.

    • SB 829 - [Oppose] Extends the sunset date of Act 126, SLH 2016, from June 30, 2019, to June 30, 2021.

  • Strengthening conditions for BLNR public land dispositions

    • SB 916 - [Support] Requires that the board of land and natural resources make certain determinations before approving public land dispositions. Restricts the board of land and natural resources from approving the disposition of public lands under certain circumstances.

    • HB 596 - [Support] Requires the Board of Land and Natural Resources to analyze an intended lease disposition within 90 days. Prohibits the board from issuing any lease that would impact certain cultural, historical, or recreational areas. Prohibits the board from issuing any lease to a person that has previously violated certain laws.

Planning for Rising Seas

Hawai‘i’s natural coastal habitats act as a buffer against the high wind and waves of powerful storms, protecting residents and infrastructure near the ocean while supporting unique ecosystems. The people of Hawaiʻi also rely on coastal resources for subsistence, recreation, economic support, and traditional and customary practices. As sea level rises, these buffers, habitats, and resources will be greatly impacted and infrastructure may no longer exist along the coast. The Sierra Club of Hawaiʻi is prioritizing:

  • Mandatory sea level rise exposure area disclosure in real estate transactions

    • HB 565 - [Support] Requires that mandatory seller disclosures in real property transactions include identification of residential real properties located within a sea level rise exposure area.

    • SB 1339 - [Support] Requires a vulnerable coastal property purchaser statement to be executed by the purchaser or transferee with the sale or transfer of vulnerable coastal real estate.

    • SB 1340 - [Support] Requires that mandatory seller disclosures in real estate transactions include identification of residential real properties lying within a sea level rise exposure area.

    • SB 1126 - [Support] Beginning on November 1, 2019, requires all real property sales or transfers to include a sea level rise hazard exposure statement to ensure that new property owners and transferees understand the special hazards, requirements, and limitations that may affect the property. Requires sellers to include whether property is within a sea level rise hazard zone in the disclosure statement provided to the buyer.

  • Strengthening Coastal Zone Management Laws

    • SB 1113 - [Support] Amends policies and objectives related to coastal zone management to reduce residential exposure to coastal hazards and protect state beaches and public shoreline access.

  • Planning for rising seas

    • HB 549 - [Support] Requires new developments to plan for the impacts of projected sea level rise and prohibits development in areas significantly affected by projected sea level rise.

    • HB 765 - [Support] Requires incorporation of sea level rise projections in all new plans and updates to existing state plans generated under the Hawaiʻi State Planning Act.

    • SB 434 - [Support] Requires state agencies to require climate vulnerability assessments for permit applications for projects involving building, transportation, or land use change that may generate significant greenhouse gas emissions. Applies to permit applications filed after 12/31/2020.

    • SB 690 - [Support] Implements the recommendations of the Hawai‘i Sea Level Rise Vulnerability and Adaptation Report issued by the Hawai‘i Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Commission. Makes appropriations.

    • SB 1054 - [Support] Requires the State and counties to incorporate predictions of sea level rise and other climate change hazards and mitigation opportunities into applicable plans, strategies, and mapping. Requires the public utilities commission to consider the findings in the Hawaii Sea Level Rise Vulnerability and Adaptation Report. Requires each county to participate in the community rating system developed by the National Flood Insurance Program.

  • Funding the Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Commission

    • SB 263 - [Support] Requires and appropriates funds for the climate change mitigation and adaptation commission to assist state and county agencies to develop sea level rise adaptation plans and to implement climate change mitigation efforts. Appropriates funds for one full-time equivalent climate change mitigation and adaptation coordinator position.

    • SB 561 - [Support] Appropriates funds for the Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Coordinator position and program implementation.

    • SB 930 - [Support] Requires the Hawaii climate change mitigation and adaptation commission and coordinator to assist the State and counties with developing and implementing various sea level rise adaptation plans and climate change mitigation efforts. Appropriate funds to support the Hawaii climate change initiative.

    • SB 944 - [Support] Requires the Hawaii Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Commission to prioritize nature-based solutions in its climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts and assess risk transfer market mechanisms that promote investments in nature to reduce the risks of climate change. Defines "nature-based solutions". Appropriates funds.

Administrative

  • Creation of State Department of Environment

    • HB 1586 - [Support] Establishes and transfers to a Department of Environment certain agencies and programs administered by the Department of Health (the Office of Environmental Quality Control and the Environmental Council) and the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism (the Energy Office and programs relating to sustainability and climate adaptation planning in the Office of Planning).

  • Trail maintenance and funding

    • HB 1082 - [Support] Appropriates moneys for the establishment of a permanent full-time equivalent abstractor position and a permanent full-time equivalent land and access specialist within the Na Ala Hele Program for trail access.

    • SB 1068 - [Support] Makes an appropriation to improve na ala hele, the Hawaii statewide trail and access program, by improving access to and maintaining state controlled recreational trails statewide and promoting hiker safety and hiker etiquette education and outreach.


A longer list of all the bills we are keeping an eye on can be found on our All CapitolWatch Bill List.