Session is out!

Happy end of the 2018 legislative session everyone. This session was a tough one (although at this point we say that every year) but we made it out to the other side and have several reasons to celebrate—and several reasons to keep working hard as bills move to Governor Ige’s desk.

Here is a quick glance at TOP priority bills that made it out of session. After we take a moment to go outside and get some sunlight, stretch our legs, and take a deep breath we will share with you all a comprehensive review of the remaining bills we followed throughout this session.

Of course, we also want to share a HUGE MAHALO to all of you and your hard work tracking bills, submitting testimony, sharing calls to action, showing up at the capitol and everything in between that helped to keep the good bills going and the bad bills in check.

Signed into law

SB2939, now the Hawaiʻi Ratepayer Protection Act, establishes performance incentives for the electric utility to ensure it earns profits when it provides cheaper, renewable energy to its customers. You can read more about this victory here.

Be sure to take a minute to thank Governor Ige for signing this bill.

Good bills headed to the Governor’s desk

They are almost there. Write to Governor Ige asking him to sign these bills into law.

HB2182, aligns Hawaiʻi’s clean energy and carbon sequestration efforts with climate initiative goals—guides the State to sequester more carbon than it emits by 2045

HB2106, requires sea level rise predictions to be included in environmental assessments and impact statements

HB 2110, directs the Public Utilities Commission to establish a microgrid services tariff to encourage and facilitate the development and use of energy resilient microgrids

HB1986, establishes framework for a carbon offset program through partnership of the Office of Planning and Greenhouse Gas Sequestration Task Force

SB2571, bans the sale of sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate in Hawaiʻi

SB3095, bans the use of chlorpyrifos, requires mandatory disclosure of restricted use pesticides, and creates buffer zones around schools

SB2567, establishes a working group with the Health Department to develop a plan for the conversion of all cesspools by 2050

HB1577, establishes compost pilot program to reimburse farmers who purchase compost from a certified processor, dealer, retailer, or wholesaler

Bad bills headed to the Governor’s desk

These bills are too close for comfort. Reach out to the Governor and ask him to veto these bills.

HB1932, allows state agencies to use emergency rules to override legislation and court decisions they do not agree with

SB192, transfers all Natural Area Reserve funds to the general fund

2nd Crossover Bill Update

The end of 2018 legislative session is just around the corner, but the work isn't over yet! Dozens of environmental bills we've been tracking all session are still alive and going through their respective conference committees. A conference committee is a committee comprised only of subject matter and finance committee chairs for finalization. (e.g., if the bill was referred to CPH, WAM in the Senate and EEP, FIN in the House, then its conference committee will be comprised of Senators Baker and Dela Cruz and Representatives Lee and Luke). Final decking is on April 26th.

Though the opportunity for public hearings is over, you can still help usher these bills through the legislature by contacting conference committee chairs and request they support the bills--preferably the best, most environmentally friendly versions of the bill as many have been drastically changed over the course of session (as indicated by HD1,2; SD1,2, etc). If they "survive" conference, that means they head to the governor's desk for signing or vetoing.

Check out the bill list here (good bills in green and bad bills in red) and contact conference committee chairs now! You can find out which committees each bill has gone through on the measure status page for each bill following "Referred to" and the House or Senate committee acronyms.

If the bill you're supporting (e.g., SB 2939 SD2) reads "Enrolled to Governor" at the bottom of its measure status page, that means the bill is headed straight to the governor's desk for signing into law (or veto). In this case, please feel free to write a message to Governor Ige or call his office at (808) 586-0034 and voice either your support or opposition to the bill. Any bills that "survive" conference will go through this process, so get ready!

Adjournment sine die is on May 3rd. Let's rally together behind these environmental bills for this final push of 2018 legislative session!

Women's History Month

Untitled design (2).png

As Women's History Month comes to a close, we reflect on the powerful, intelligent, dynamic women who, throughout history, have paved the way for the rest of us. Opening doors, shattering glass ceilings, fighting every day for the opportunity and equality that is a right for our gender. Many of us enjoy the fruits of these labors, but, as a society, we still have a long way to go. 

mana wahine.png

Over the past month, we have highlighted eight incredible women who have changed for the better and are still effecting positive change right here in Hawaiʻi nei. Charessa, Tiare, Heather, Nicole, Keani, Laura, Cynthia, and, of course, the incomparable Her Majesty Queen Liliʻuokalani. We only wish there were enough hours in the day to recognize each and every woman working hard to see a just, vibrant, and thriving Hawaiʻi come to fruition. You know who you are...imua! We stand with you.

At the Sierra Club of Hawaiʻi, I am pleased and fortunate to be a part of an incredible all-women staff. These women work harder than anyone I've known to protect the very environment we depend on. It is a privilege to learn from and work with these all-star women. Especially when it comes to protecting our environment, when women have a seat at the table--and even better, when they are in positions of leadership--nature wins. I am hopeful for our shared future. With evermore women getting involved to protect our natural resources on-the-ground to decision-making to project management, I am confident that we will all enjoy a resilient, flourishing environment for generations to come.

In solidarity,

Kimiko LaHaela Walter, Conservation Program Coordinator

Recycling is a good thing, let's do what we can to support it

Fun Fact: Germany has the highest overall recycling rate in the world with more than 50% of their total municipal waste being recycled!

Fun Fact: Germany has the highest overall recycling rate in the world with more than 50% of their total municipal waste being recycled!

Let's talk about HI-5 bottle recycling and redemption. What is redemption, you ask? It is when a person returns the empty beverage container (HI-5 labeled glass, plastic, or aluminum) to a participating recycling center. You see, when we purchase those beverage items with the label of "HI-5", this means we are paying an extra 5 cent deposit per bottle upfront, which we can redeem for the equivalent cash back when the bottle is empty. The simple idea is to incentivize consumers to return the bottles to recycling centers such that they won't end up littering our streets, clogging up drains, or polluting the ocean. Unfortunately, Hawaiʻi has seen a marked decrease in bottle redemption over the last several years. We must address this issue and find solutions that incentivize folks to redeem their empties! 

With the 2018 legislative session is rapidly nearing its end, change is on the horizon for our local recycling system. We should continue to support bills proposing initiatives for sustainable recycling and reuse of plastic commodities, especially after China announced its effective ban on 24 various scrap materials, most notably plastics. This is the perfect opportunity for the City and County of Honolulu to examine its history with local recycling and the steady decrease in redemption rates.

Senator Jill Tokuda (D-Kaneohe) introduced SB 3099 as a vehicle to increase redemption, highlighting success in other states like Oregon and Michigan who have implemented a 10 cent deposit fee. Michigan has shown an average of a 93% redemption from 2014 to 2016, and since its newest implementation last April 2017, Oregon has seen a jump from 64% to 82%. SB 3099 not only calls for an increase in deposit fees if the redemption rate falls below 85% after two consecutive years, but is also reinforced with 2 new positions for the deposit beverage program, established funds for a plastics recycling program, and gives more responsibility to the Department of Health in benchmarking return rates to 85%, and annually reporting fundings to the legislature.

Public approval of the possible new 10 cent deposit fees are up in the air for several reasons. Lack of knowledge about statistics included in the redemption rates, as well as decreased access to redemption facilities are among them. Redemption rates as stated above include all returns to redemption facilities, as well as the smaller 2% rate from residential blue bins. These blue bins are only offered on Oʻahu, whereas neighboring islands are required to return all recyclables to specified redemption facilities. This is concerning to locals who already have a difficult time with drop off and retrieving deposits from very limited facility options, possibly hindering redemption rates to begin with. Statistics show the declining rate of redemption directly correlates with the closing down of facilities and decreased access to redemption sites.

In addition to funding for a plastics recycling program, funding should also go to aiding additional facilities on neighbor islands, as well as possible research into new redemption sites (e.g., grocery stores). There are options for us to create a sustainable and resilient recycling system, beginning with the support and initiating the conversation on stricter recycling practices. Passing SB 3099 is a necessary first step to addressing these issues, keeping the conversation going with regards to the importance of recycling, maintaining the overall cultural conditioning to recycle HI-5 bottles, and to incentivize residents to redeem their recyclable bottles.

State Senate Bill Would Increase Can and Bottle Deposits, 3/19/2018, Honolulu Star Advertiser

To learn more about Senate Bill 3099, click here.

A Gift of Clean Energy this St. Paddy's Day

Untitled design.png

Happy St. Patrick's Day! What better way to celebrate a day of green than by testifying in support of several important clean energy bills being heard on Monday and Wednesday before the Senate Committees on Transportation & Energy and Commerce, Consumer Protection & Health.

Let's be clear: the hearings before these committees are CRITICAL. As we near the end of session, important bills are going through tougher committees. In fact, the last one or two committees are often where bills go to die. This is why your help is needed to let legislators know just how important these clean energy measures are to our communities!

See below sample testimony that can broadly work for all four bills. However, personalizing your testimony and making it more specific to each bill is always recommended.

Aloha Chairs Inouye and Baker, Vice Chairs Espero and Tokuda, and members of the Committees,

My name is _________________ and I live in _________________. I am in STRONG SUPPORT of this important bill that moves Hawaiʻi toward our goal of 100% renewable energy by 2045. We have a long way to go and many things to do before we reach this admirable and ambitious goal, which showcases to the world our commitment to combat climate change and preserve our beautiful planet for generations to come. This measure is one of several that will contribute to these important efforts. I urge the committees to pass this bill!

Mahalo for the opportunity to testify today.

Click on the bill numbers below to submit testimony for each bill.

HB 2110, HB 2249, and HB 2460 will be heard before the TRE and CPH committees on Monday, March 19, at 3:15PM in Conference Room 225.

HB 1801 will be heard before the TRE and CPH committees on Wednesday, March 21, at 1:30PM in Conference Room 225.

If you are available, please join us in the hearing room! Providing oral testimony or even simply your presence in the room is highly valuable to convince legislators that these issues matter.

Need a refresher on how to submit written testimony on the Capitol website? Click here.

Please Testify in Support of the Red Hill Bill!

All hands on deck! SB 2930 SD2 HD1 has a hearing in a CRITICAL COMMITTEE: House Committee on Health and Human Services on Tuesday March 20 at 8:30am in Capitol room 329. This is our opportunity to demand that these leaky, antiquated tanks be upgraded to secondary containment within 10 years! Please help us get this critical bill to the governor's desk...only one more committee after this one if we can successfully shepherd it through Tuesday's hearing.

This bill presents the best opportunity to ensure the strongest regulations of the Red Hill fuel tanks. The tanks at Red Hill will need to brought into compliance with the rules that are drafted by the Department of Health—this bill, through the legislative process, allows the opportunity for the public to help influence those rules, even before the administrative process. 

Please testify now using the form below!

If you are available, please come out and support. Your oral testimony, and even simply your presence, makes a big difference in helping legislators take a strong position in defense of our water. You may bring signs but they must be on 8.5x11" paper. 

Need a refresher on the Red Hill Water Issue? Click here.

Call Your Representatives for the Red Hill Bill!

Thank you to everyone that submitted testimony on SB 2930, the Red Hill bill - we had over 120 people submit testimony - THAT IS OUTSTANDING!

Chair Lee, Vice Chair Lowen, and the members of the Energy and Environmental Protection Committee have deferred SB 2930 to the end of the Thursday, March 15 agenda for decision making. This decision—after long testimony and discussions from the U.S. Navy, Attorney General’s office, Hawaiʻi Department of Health, Honolulu Board of Water Supply and the Sierra Club of Hawaiʻi—allows for further discussions to be had with these stakeholders on exactly what amendments should be made to the bill. We expect that SB 2930 will be passed out of EEP on Thursday but with what amendments is unclear.

What you can do:
Call House Speaker Saiki at 808-586-6100 today or tomorrow and ask him to protect Oʻahu's water by passing a bill that requires secondary containment of the Red Hill tanks within 10 years. The people of Oʻahu deserve clean and secure drinking water and should not have to wait another 20 years, as proposed by the Department of Health, to ensure our water is safe from fuel contamination.

Representative Bellati (Email:, Tel: 808-586-9431) and Representative Luke (Email:, Tel: 808-586-6200) are also two legislators who should hear community voices on this critical water security issue! Please take a few minutes to let them know it matters to you and your community.

We will keep you posted on the status of SB 2930.

As always, thank you for everything you do to protect Hawaiʻi and its environment.

E ola i ka wai. Water is life.

How to submit testimony on the State Capitol Website

Check out this step-by-step quick reference guide to submitting testimony at the Hawaiʻi State Capitol Website! In 8 easy steps, you can elevate your voice at the legislature to support (or oppose) issues that matter to you. Congratulations for taking this important and necessary step in civic engagement! Happy testifying!

1. G.png

For written testimony tips, click here.

You can always send an email directly to the committee before which the bill is being heard. For example, if the bill is being heard before the House Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection (EEP), you can send testimony to:

You can find a list of committees along with their acronyms here. Please note: if the bill is being heard before two or more committees at the same time, you must submit your testimony to EACH committee, addressing the committee chairs and vice chairs accordingly.

Action Alert! Important bills being heard in House Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection

This hearing is HUGE! Please submit testimony by Monday 3/12 at 8:30am in SUPPORT of the following bills:


SB 2930 Underground Storage Tanks

Sea Level Rise

SB 2334 Sea Level Rise planning

SB 3068 Implements recommendations of the Sea Level Rise report

Clean Energy

SB 2939 Performance based rates

SB 2910 Grid resiliency


SB 2567 Cesspool upgrade upon property sale


SB 2571 Oxybenzone/Octinoxate Ban


SB 3099 Recycling benchmarks

SB 2110 Motor oil collection

Native/Invasive Species

SB 2399 Invasive Species Authority

General Environment

SB 2977 Assesses the effects of tourism on climate change

SB 2965 Nature-based solutions in climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts

Sustainable Development Goals

SB 2668 Affordable and clean energy

SB 2674 Climate action

Need a testimony template? Click here for a copy & paste. You will just need to add your info and why you support the bill.

Crossover is upon us!

The 2018 legislative session is halfway finished! ...and what a whirlwind it has been. For those of you with us for the first time, welcome and thanks for sticking to it! We know it can be fast and furious. Please feel free to reach out with any questions:

Below is the list of 50 environmental bills we will be pushing after crossover. Please familiarize as necessary! Most bills already have committee referrals, so NOW it is time to contact committee chairs to hear these bills ASAP. Next important deadline: March 23 is second lateral.

What is "crossover", you ask? 

Crossover: deadline for bills to pass third reading in order to move (or “crossover”) to the other chamber. If successful, House bills are sent to the Senate and Senate bills are sent to the House for further consideration.

Click here for a quick view refresher on how a bill becomes a law in Hawaiʻi.

Sea Level Rise

HB 2106 OEQC/Chapter 343 include SLR considerations

SB 2334 SLR planning

SB 3068 Implements recommendations of the SLR report

Clean Energy

HB 1801 Gas utility standard = electric utility standard

HB 1864 Ocean thermal air conditioning

HB 2460 Microgrids

SB 2939 Performance based rates

HB 2724 Office of Clean Energy

HB 2719 Clean energy economy advisory board

SB 2910 Grid resiliency / HB 2249 Grid resiliency

HB 2110 Microgrid tariff

HB 1830 UH Green Special Fund


HB 1986 DBEDT carbon revenues

HB 2182 Carbon Sequestration Task Force

SB 1088 Haleakala Carbon Forestry Project FIN

HB 795 Carbon forestry certification WTL, WAM


HB 2626 Third party consultant

SB 2717 Grants for Hawaiian Homelands

SB 2567 Upgrade upon sale


SB 2571 Oxybenzone/Octinoxate Ban


SB2498 Polystyrene ban

HB 2107 Plastic Pollution Initiative

HB 2718 DAGS county polystyrene


HB 1806 Food donations

HB 1800 Motor vehicle tires

SB 3099 Recycling benchmarks

HB 2025 Composting in schools pilot project

SB 2110 Motor oil collection

Native/Invasive Species

SB 2399 Invasive Species Authority


SB 3095 Buffer zones

SB 2126 Pesticide revolving fund

SB 2569 Pesticide Advisory Committee

Agriculture/Land Use

SB 2524 County land use requirements

SB 2572 Local food production

SB 2561 Conservation districts / HB 2101 Conservation districts


SB 2331 Na Ala Hele trail funding


HB 2595 DLNR watershed funding

HB 1977 Watershed flood mitigation


HB 1987 Stream study 

SB 2930 Underground Storage Tanks

HB 2592 Water infrastructure funding

DLNR Funding

SB 3038 TAT—>DLNR funding 

General Environment

HB 2026 LRB study to re-org agencies

HB 2470 State and county water and air quality standards

SB 2977 Tourism effects on climate change

SB 2965 Nature-based solutions in climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts

Sustainable Development Goals

SB 2667 Clean water and sanitation

SB 2668 Affordable and clean energy

SB 2674 Climate action

SB 2675 Life below water

SB 2676 Life on land

Contact Your Legislators ASAP!

We have provided the following bill numbers and talking points for your convenience. Please call and email on Monday at the latest to get these important bills heard before crossover!

Please contact Chairwoman Sylvia Luke of the House Finance Committee at 808-586-6200 and

Aloha Chair Luke, 

My name is ____________ and I live in ____________. I am writing to kindly request that you hear a few environmental bills this week.

  • HB 2468 HD2 - This bill would establish a Hawaiʻi Beach Preservation Special Fund and a 3-year pilot project for North Shore beaches. As climate change progresses, we must find solutions to address the very real problem of sea level rise and how it will impact our communities.
  • HB 2249 HD2 - This bill would establish the Grid Resiliency Rebate Program and a Grid Resiliency Task Force to prepare the State's electrical grid for natural disasters and other emergencies. We don't want what happened in Puerto Rico to happen here. 
  • HB 2726 HD2 - This bill would support our recycling programs by setting important benchmarks for redemption rates and finding alternatives for the sustainable reuse of plastics. We need to reduce the vast amount of waste that ends up in our oceans and on our beaches, plus redirect unsustainable waste that goes to H-Power (e.g., plastic--which is an unclean source of energy when burned!).

Mahalo for your time and I look forward to seeing these bills on a hearing notice soon!

Please contact Chairman Chris Lee of the House Energy and Environmental Protection Committee at 808-586-9456 and

Aloha Chair Lee, 

My name is ____________ and I live in ____________. I am writing to kindly request that you hear an important environmental bill this week.

  • HB 2512 - This bill would further restrict the criteria for variances from the requirement that all new single-family homes utilize solar water heating. In places like the Ewa Plain on Oʻahu where solar irradiance is high, there are few reasons why on-demand gas water heaters should be installed instead of solar water heaters. We MUST avoid dependence on liquified natural gas. It is often obtained in an unsustainable way (e.g., fracking) that not only contributes to climate change, but also pollutes communities at the source.

Mahalo for your time and I look forward to seeing this bill on a hearing notice soon!

Please contact Chairman Donovan Dela Cruz of the Senate Ways and Means Committee at 808-586-6090 and

Aloha Chair Dela Cruz, 

My name is ____________ and I live in ____________. I am writing to kindly request that you hear a couple environmental bills this week.

  • SB 3063 - A bill that would have the University of Hawai‘i conduct an economic analysis of North Shore beaches. As climate change progresses, we must find solutions to address the very real problem of sea level rise and how it will impact our communities. This bill will help us understand the economic aspect of addressing this issue.
  • SB 2446 SD1 - This bill requires that a percentage of the Hawaii Tourism Authority's budget be transferred to the Department of Land and Natural Resources and the counties. With tourist arrivals poised to exceed 10 million per year in the next couple of years, we MUST re-direct funds to protect and preserve the very natural resources most visitors--not to mention locals!--are coming here to experience. 

Mahalo for your time and I look forward to seeing these bills on a hearing notice soon!

Please contact Chairwoman Rosalyn Baker of the Senate Commerce, Consumer Protection & Health Committee at 808-586-6070 and

Aloha Chair Baker, 

My name is ____________ and I live in ____________. I am writing to kindly request that you hear an important environmental bill this week.

  • SB 2442 - This bill would require mandatory seller disclosures in real estate transactions within a sea level rise exposure area. As climate change progresses, we must find solutions to address the very real problem of sea level rise and how it will impact our communities, beaches, and the environment.

Mahalo for your time and I look forward to seeing this bill on a hearing notice soon!

Protect our Hiking Trails

Like to Hike? Support this bill that would fund the Department of Land and Natural Resources “Na Ala Hele” Program. Na Ala Hele is the State of Hawai‘i Trail and Access Program- managing over 128 trails that span 850 miles throughout Hawai‘i! 

SB 2331 SD1 Relating to Trails has a hearing next week! Please submit written testimony in SUPPORT for this bill by Tuesday, February 27, at 11am. You can submit your support via email to:

You can use the following testimony as a guide:

“Aloha Chair Dela Cruz, Vice Chair Keith-Agaran, and members of the Ways and Means Committee. My name is ________ and I live in __________. I’m writing in strong support for SB 2331 SD 1, which appropriates funding for “Na Ala Hele”, the State’s Trail and Access Program. Keeping up with the increasing impacts on our beloved hiking trails is a constant challenge for the State. This bill would provide critical funds for improving access and maintaining state controlled recreational trails statewide and promoting hiker safety, hiker etiquette education, and outreach. I love to hike because ______________ and believe funding our trails is so important because ______________. Please support SB 2331 SD1 and pass this bill.”

Thank you for your support in protecting our trails!

Red Hill Bill Needs Your Support

Wednesday was a big win for us - the Navy's Red Hill tanks violate state law. This win means many things - one being that there is now A LOT MORE work to do. 

The work has arrived. First up - SB2930 requires the Department of Health to adopt rules for underground storage tanks and tank systems to meet federal regulations including additional requirements for field-constructed tanks (tanks at Red Hill) by October 2018.

At this time, this bill presents the best opportunity for us to ensure the strongest regulations of these tanks. The tanks at Red Hill will need to brought into compliance with the rules that are drafted by the Department of Health—this bill, through the legislative process, allows the opportunity for the public to help influence those rules, even before the administrative process. 

The pre-draft rules that the Department of Health has proposed are not strong enough. The rules codify 20 years and less than 100% protection of Oʻahu's groundwater.  

Please submit testimony below on SB 2930 and come to the hearing on Monday, February 26 at 10:15am in room 229 at the Hawaiʻi State Capitol. This committee does not accept oral testimony but your presence makes a big difference in helping legislators take a strong position in defense of our water. You may bring signs but they must be on 8.5x11" paper.  

Clean energy and environmental bills enter their final Committee in the House!

We need your help getting these important bills through their final hearing in the House: the Committee on Finance! Hearing notice here.

a) Submit written testimony by Thursday 2/22 at 2:00 PM

b) Attend the hearing on Friday 2/23 at 2:00 PM in Conference Room 308

Clean Energy


Sea Level Rise


  • HB 2182 HD1 Relating to Environmental Protection - STRONG SUPPORT
  • HB 1986 HD2 Relating to the Environment - Oppose HD2 Amendments, Support original bill language. We would like to promote carbon projects throughout the state, but believe that all revenues generated through carbon offsets to be administered by DBEDT alone would potentially create disincentives for project proponents to engage in costly and time-intensive projects (e.g., forest carbon projects).


TIP: You can review testimony submitted by these House Draft 1 (HD1) and 2 (HD2) bills by clicking on the Testimony link on the Measure Status of each bill's page on the Capitol website. This way, you can see what other organizations, agencies, and individuals were saying about each bill!

Screen Shot 2018-02-21 at 9.40.40 PM.png

First Lateral Bill Update

It has been a whirlwind of bill tracking since session started, but we have come to the first lateral deadline (2/16) with many of our priority environmental bills still alive!

First lateral: all bills referred to more than one committee (i.e., those with multiple referrals) must move to their final committee in the originating chamber by this day.

Some of these bills are still sitting in their final committee, which means we need to get them heard before crossover on 3/8. A handful have already made it to crossover!

Crossover: deadline for bills to pass third reading in order to move (or “crossover”) to the other chamber. If successful, House bills are sent to the Senate and Senate bills are sent to the House for further consideration.

Please update your bill trackers with the bill list below. We will start ramping up our calls to action soon, as many of these bills are passing through tougher committees. Our scope is narrowed, now is the time to push hard for these good bills to be passed this session!

*Note: Designated ALL CAPS acronyms refer to the committee the bill is currently sitting in (e.g., FIN = bill still needs to be heard by the Finance Committee before 3/8 in order to make it to crossover). CRSO = the bill has been heard by all committees it was referred to and now it is headed to crossover.

Sea Level Rise

 HB 2468 FIN, HB 2469 FIN, HB 2106 FIN, SB 2442 CPH, SB 694 CPH, SB 2334 CRSO, SB 3068 WAM, SB 3063 WAM, SB 2017 CPH


HB 2626 FIN, HB 2732 FIN,/SB 2642 CPH/AEN/WTL, SB 2717 WAM, SB 2567 CPH

Clean Energy

HB 1801 FIN, HB 1864 FIN, HB 2460 FIN, SB 2939 WAM, HB 2724 FIN, HB 2719 FIN, SB 2910 WAM/HB 2249 FIN, HB 2110 FIN, HB 1830 FIN


HB 1986 FIN, HB 2182 FIN, HB 795 WTL/WAM, SB 1088 FIN

Oxybenzone Ban

HB 2723 FIN, SB 2571 CPH


SB2498 CPH, HB 2625 FIN, HB 2107 FIN, SB 2285 JDC/WAM, HB 2718 FIN


HB 1806 CRSO, HB 1800 FIN, HB 2726 FIN/SB 3099 WAM, HB 184 FIN, HB 2025 FIN, HB 2095 FIN, SB 2110 CPH

Native/Invasive Species

SB 636 WAM, SB 2399 WAM, HB 2301 FIN


HB 2721 FIN, HB 2722 FIN, HB 1756 FIN, SB 3095 EDU/WAM, SB 2126 CRSO, SB 2569 CRSO

Agriculture/Land Use

SB 2575 WAM, SB 2524 CPH/PSM/AEN, SB 2572 WAM, SB 2561 WAM HB 2101 FIN


HB 479 FIN, SB 2331 WAM


HB 2595 FIN, HB 1977 FIN


SB 2667 CRSO, SB 2668 WAM, SB 2674 CRSO, SB 2675 WAM, SB 2676 WAM


HB 1987 FIN, SB 2930 CPH, HB 2592 FIN

DLNR Funding

SB 2446 WAM

General Environment

HB 1708 FIN, HB 2026 FIN, HB 2470 FIN

The Solar Hot Water Heater Bill: A Case Study

When a good bill dies because of a misunderstanding

A well-intentioned bill can die for many reasons. In the case of HB 2109 HD1, the solar hot water heater bill, the alarm was raised on social media,--as a result of the gas industry spreading a false interpretation of bill language--calling out an amendment (HD1) to the original bill. The request was clear: "testify against the well-intentioned amendment ASAP". Again, this was in response to a claim (that many off-the-grid new homes would not be permitted to install tankless on-demand water heaters) made from the said amendment. Whether or not this claim, and the subsequent outcry of many would-be affected from the public, was indeed with merit, the flooding of opposition to the bill in general resulted in its becoming "controversial" and further, in its subsequent death.

FACT: we can oppose amendments without a killing a good bill! (As evidenced by what happened in the very same hearing to HB 2723 HD1, which, at decision making, was amended to be a stronger version of itself--now HB 2723 HD2--at the demand of multiple testifiers).

HB 2109 HD1 was deferred in the House Committee on Consumer Protection and Commerce, a disappointment for many in the fight for renewable energy sources that align with Hawaiʻi's Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) goals of 100% clean energy by 2045.

Remember, as a bill makes its way through both chambers, months before it has a chance to even become a law, there are opportunities to modify and clarify language (i.e., make amendments), such that problems (e.g., the ones raised by the public) may be addressed. In the case of HB 2109 HD1, the opposition to a well-intentioned bill, instead of the amendments attached to it, resulted in a yet another win by Hawaiʻi Gas and the gas utility, keeping Hawaiʻi unnecessarily dependent on Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) when we should be moving off fossilized/fracked gas and on to renewables.

FACT: Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) is often not derived from clean sources (e.g., when it is fracked). We should not be using LNG as a "bridge fuel" on our path to 100%. Read more about why here and here.


More on the conversation surrounding HB 2109 HD1 below:

Let's be clear: those of us in that fight for clean energy do indeed want clean energy for all. Marti Townsend, Director of the Sierra Club of Hawaiʻi rightly stated:

"We completely agree! It has to be clean energy for all, or it is simply not enough. This bill [HB 2109] closes the loophole abused by wealthy developers while still allowing individual homeowners to get an exemption based on cost. We are with you on helping the poor and supporting clean energy. This bill accomplishes that without giving the wealthy developers an out for keeping us hooked on fossilized gas."

William Giese, Executive Director of the Hawaiʻi Solar Energy Association, wrote:

"As its written now (HD1), this measure doesn't prevent anyone from installing an on-demand (instant) gas heater on a new single-family home. If the architect or engineer who signs the variance request can prove that a solar hot water heater is cost-prohibitive over a life cycle analysis, and the energy coordinator agrees, then the variance would be granted and the developer is allowed to install whatever water heater they feel would be most appropriate for the situation.

For instance, if a new single family vacation home in Puna or Hilo that (1) sits in the shadow of Mauna Kea and (2) is only lived-in part of the year requests a variance, the life cycle cost analysis submitted with that variance would prove that a solar hot water heater is not an appropriate heater type and the variance would be approved. The developer would be free to install an instant gas heater, which would be warranted in this very specific case.

However, if a single family home that is lived-in year round on the Ewa Plain, where there is abundant solar irradiance, is submitting a variance request then the burden would be on the architect to prove that a solar hot water heater would not be as cost effective over the life of that system. This would be impossible to prove, as the amount of gas therms used over the life of the system combined with high sun hours in that part of Hawaiʻi would make a solar hot water heater more cost effective.

Lastly, many instant gas heaters installed today require an electrical grid connection to function, as the more inexpensive models do not have "always on" pilot lights. Many of the off-grid consumers that our member companies serve today opt to install solar hot water heater systems in connection with their grid back up through PV or with DC pump systems run off of separate PV panels.

As a side note, many of our member company distributors and installers install both solar hot water and instant gas. The intent of this bill is not to remove instant gas in new home construction entirely, but rather to empower the energy coordinator to exercise discretion while administering these variances, and prevent rubber stamping of gas variances not inline with state Renewable Portfolio Standard goals."

Big Hearings Next Week!

We are approaching the first big deadline of the 2018 session—first lateral (the deadline for all bills to be assigned to their final committee in the originating chamber) is on Friday, February 16. A handful of our priority bills have hearings scheduled early next week and we need your help! Please submit testimony in support of the following bills 24 hours before the hearing date. 

- The bills bolded and starred directly battle climate change
- The bills bolded are identified as priority bills
- Others are additional important bills we want to see passed (while you are at it!)
- CPC: House Committee on Consumer Protection & Commerce (room 329)
- EEP: House Committee on Energy & Environmental Protection (room 325)
- OMH: House Committee on Ocean, Marine Resources, & Hawaiian Affairs (room 423)
- WAL: House Committee on Water & Land [room 309]
- LAB: House Committee on Labor & Public Employment [room 329]
- WTL/AEN/GVO: Senate Committee on Water and Land/Senate Committee on Agriculture and Environment/Senate Committee on Government Operations

MORE ACTION: Please call Chair Takumi and Vice Chair Ichiyama of CPC to ask them to schedule hearings on pesticide bills (HB 2721, HB 2722, HB 1756) this week

Clean Energy

HB 2724 HD1 (LAB 2/13 9:45am)*** - read the bill here
Helps Hawaiʻi build a resilient clean energy economy that takes in more carbon than it produces by 2045

HB 2109 HD1 (CPC 2/13 2:00pm)*** - read the bill here
Narrows available criteria for granting a solar water heater variance.

HB 2249 HD1 (CPC 2/13 2:00pm)*** - read the bill here
Improves Hawaiʻi's grid resiliency programs

HB 2460 HD1 (CPC 2/13 2:00pm) - read the bill here
Establishes a microgrid demonstration project on property controlled by Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority

HB 2719 (EEP 2/13 8:30am) - read the bill here
Establishes the Hawaiʻi clean economy initiative advisory board to advise the State on the transition to a clean energy economy

HB 2110 HD1 (CPC 2/13 2:00pm) - read the bill here
Directs the Public Utilities Commission to encourage and facilitate the development and use of energy resilient microgrids

Sea Level Rise

HB 2106 HD1 (OMH 2/13 10:40am)*** - read the bill here
Requires the the state to adopt rules requiring all environmental assessments and environmental impact statements to include consideration of sea level rise based on the most recent scientific data

HB 2468 (WAL 2/14 10:30am)*** read the bill here
Explores options and pilot projects for properties that are threatened by sea level rise

SB 3068 (WTL/AEN/GVO 2/15 2:50pm)*** - read the bill here
Requires the state to implement recommendations from the Hawaiʻi Sea Level Rise Vulnerability and Adaptation Report


HB 1986 HD 1 (CPC 2/13 2:00pm)*** - read the bill here
Establishes programs that allows state agencies and other businesses that offset their carbon emissions


HB 1801 HD1 (CPC 2/13 2:00pm)*** - read the bill here
Establishes renewable portfolio standards and targets for gas utility companies that mirrors those set for electric utility companies


HB 2301 HD1 (EEP 2/13 8:30am) - read the bill here
Restructures the Hawaiʻi Invasive Species Council to improve coordination of the State's invasive species prevention, early detection, rapid response, control, enforcement, and outreach programs


SB 3099 (CPH/AEN 2/12 1:15pm) - read the bill here
Requires the Department of Health to set benchmarks to reach an eighty-five percent redemption rate by 2023

HB 1800 HD1 (CPC 2/12 2:00pm) - read the bill here
Authorizes each county to establish a car tire recycling program

HB 2625 HD1 (EEP 2/13 8:30am) - read the bill here
Requires the state to remove plastic marine debris from shores and beaches and for the counties to dispose of plastic marine debris collected by the department


SB 3095 (CPH/AEN 2/12 1:15pm) - read the bill here 
Establishes disclosure and public notification requirements for application of pesticides by large-scale, outdoor commercial agricultural operations and pilots a buffer zone project around schools

Oxybenzone sunscreen ban

HB 2723 HD1 (CPC 2/13 2:00pm) - read the bill here
Prohibits the sale of sunscreen containing oxybenzone

Carbon and Climate Change

Hawaiʻi’s climate is changing—temperatures are warming, rainfall is decreasing, and sea levels are rising. Our atmosphere is overloaded with carbon dioxide released by humans burning coal, oil, and gas, while we continue to lose acres of critical native forests that serve as natural intakes of carbon. Hawaiʻi is at the forefront of clean energy standards, with our goal of achieving 100% renewable electricity by 2045, but collectively, we should be doing more to mitigate the carbon that already exists in our atmosphere.

Quick facts:

  • Hawaiʻi produces 18 million metric tons of carbon dioxide a year

  • In one year, a single acre of forest can absorb two times the carbon produced by the average car’s annual mileage

  • Carbon offset projects are already underway on Haleakalā and Mauna Kea where large areas of native forests are being restored

Why does this matter

  • If we stop releasing carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels today, global warming would still continue because carbon is trapped in the atmosphere

  • Carbon offset programs will help generate funds to support natural resource managers, private and public—like the Department of Land and Natural Resources, who work to protect Hawaiʻi’s natural resources

  • Restoring native forests will not only decrease the amount of carbon in the atmosphere but will also increase rainfall capture that feeds our drinking water aquifers and help mitigate erosion and flooding throughout the islands






How you can help

See priority bills here

Call your legislators and ask them to support bills that:

  • Establish programs for state agencies and other businesses that offset their carbon emissions (HB1986)

  • Helps Hawaiʻi build a resilient clean energy economy that takes in more carbon than it produces by 2045 (HB2724)

  • Support other means of increasing carbon sequestration

Submit testimony in support of these bills when scheduled for hearings

Check out more posts on carbon here

Help Fund DLNR

The Hawaiian Islands are home to unique ecosystems full of species found nowhere else in the world. Our natural environment is the foundation of Hawaiʻi’s tourism industry—the central economic driver throughout the islands. Hawaiʻi is seeing the adverse impacts that millions of visitors, in addition to the growing number of residents, has on our beaches, trails, and other finite resources. The Department of Land and Natural Resources and its many divisions, like the Na Ala Hele program, has the daunting responsibility to manage and protect these resources.

Quick facts:

  • In 2017, Hawaiʻi saw an influx of over 9 million visitors on top of the 1.4 million residents

  • The Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority has maintained a steady rise in visitor arrivals for decades, with an annual budget in 2017 in excess of $88 million.

  • The Department of Land and Natural Resources operates off of a meer 1.2% of the overall state budget

  • The Na Ala Hele system currently oversees 855 miles of trails and roads throughout the State – including 35 trails on Kaua‘i, 40 trails on O‘ahu, 1 on Moloka‘i, 1 on Lāna‘i, 22 on Maui, and 18 on Hawai‘i Island.

Why does this matter?

  • The Department of Land and Natural Resources is the sole state agency responsible for managing our resources and is underfunded and understaffed

  • As the number of visitors continues to grow, visitors are also increasingly taking to the outdoors without the proper understanding of Hawaiʻi’s natural hazards and landscapes—which leads to accidents and has deleterious impacts on our environment

  • An ever growing number of visitors has deleterious impacts on our environment—overwhelmed hiking trails, spread of invasive species, and trampled reefs

  • Visitors are increasingly taking to the outdoors without the proper understanding of Hawaiʻi’s natural hazards and landscapes

  • The thriving tourism industry should be financially obligated to fund the state agencies that protect the very resources that the industry depends on


How you can help

You can see priority bills here

  • Call your legislators and ask them to support bills that:

    • Transfer funds from the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority budget to the Department of Land and Natural Resources

    • Appropriates funds to raise awareness about hiker safety and preparedness

    • Improves funding for the Na Ala Hele program within the Department of Land and Natural Resources

Check out more DLNR funding posts here

Underground Storage Tank Bill Updates

Yesterday and today, bills that would finally regulate the tanks at Red Hill and other military underground field constructed tanks elsewhere in the Hawaiian Islands were heard in senate and house committees. A huge mahalo to those who submitted testimony and showed up at the hearings to let the Navy know that 20 years is TOO LONG to fix the tanks. 

Bill updates:

SB 2930 deferred until 2/9/18 at 1:15PM in conference room 224.

HB 2712 passed through committee with amendments. This bill has two additional committees to get through before the 2/16 first lateral deadline. Contact Chairs Mizuno and Luke NOW and request this bill be heard in their committees before the deadline!

Also, last week we attended the Downtown-Chinatown Neighborhood Board meeting to hear what the Navy had to say about their plans for Red Hill. Department of Health and the Board of Water Supply were also in attendance. The Navy gave a very technical presentation outlining their current work under the Administrative Order on Consent (AOC), including their usual spiel that our drinking water is safe. While it is great that the Navy is engaging in public outreach on this issue, they are still providing little assurance that the tanks will not leak, nor outlining any plans they have to handle yet another possible future spill. The Sierra Club still has concerns that the 20 year timeline within which to upgrade the tanks at Red Hill is too long. The Navy will present again on:

  • Thursday February 8th at the Diamond Head/Kapahulu/St. Louis Neighborhood Board meeting.
  • Wednesday February 14th at the Palolo Neighborhood Board meeting. Agenda pending, check back soon.

SAVE THE DATE: The evening of Wednesday March 14th at Moanalua Middle School for the Navy's next public meeting on Red Hill. We will update you as the date approaches!