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Written by Robert Harris | Published in Smart Growth / Transport
We did it!
Today, both the House and Senate took decisive steps that likely mean the end of the Public Lands Development Corporation. The House voted to move HB 1133 out of its final committee assignments. The Senate Water Land Committee gutted and replaced SB 707 with verbal amendments that appear to result in a clean repeal of the PLDC.
Does this mean the PLDC is dead? Not quite yet. The House has to hold two floor votes on HB 1133. The Senate Ways and Means Committee still has to hear and move SB 707 and then two floor votes need to occur. Then one of these two bills needs to move through the other body (HB 1133 needs to go through the Senate or SB 707 needs to go through the House). The House or Senate could simply vote to accept the other's bill and then it would go straight to the Governor. Then the Governor could either sign the bill, allow it to become law without his signature, or veto it.
That's a lot of steps, but plainly we've overcome the biggest obstacles. In principle, it seems like all parties have committed to repealing the PLDC.
What an amazing turnaround from just five or six months ago. This is the power of grassroots. This is the power of the people. No organization or individual could have created this result alone. Only by standing together and ensuring our united voices are heard did we achieve this result. I hope YOU, the committed activist, takes credit for this victory. And I hope we can keep our commitment to united action. Only together can we achieve these types of results.
Got a few seconds? Take a moment to say "thank you" to the legislators that helped make this result happen. All of the Chairs deserve credit for allowing the repeal bills to move forward, including the maligned Senator Malama Solomon. But I would specially recognize (in no particular order) Senators Les Ihara, Jr., Laura Thielen, Russell Ruderman, Clayton Hee and Representatives Nicole Lowen, Cindy Evans, Karen Awana, Tom Brower, Lauren Cheape, Denny Coffman, Richard Fale, Beth Fukumoto, Faye Hanohano, Mark Hashem, Kaniela Ing, Aaron Johanson, Chris Lee, Bob McDermott, Angus McKelvey, John Mizuno, Dee Morikawa, Scott Saiki, Roy Takumi, and Cynthia Thielen as folks that really pushed on this issue. You can find their contact information here.
A number of important energy bills are being heard early this week. On Monday:
- HB 856 HD1, which would create a funding mechanism for very inexpensive green energy loans. This bill, together with an on-bill financing program, could make clean energy very cheap and inexpensive!
- HB 857 would reapportion the so-called barrel tax to support food and energy programs. Remember how that was the original purpose? This measure would essentially put 100% of the funds towards the clean energy, agriculture, and environmental response programs.
- HB 448 would require annual LNG reports to be filed with the PUC (including how the gas was extracted and the greenhouse gases emitted) and require the PUC to look at the risks and benefits of LNG.
- HB 1142 would require the utility to negotiate the amount of curtailment could occur. Curtailment is when the utility refuses to take renewable power. When there is uncertainty about the amount they can sell, renewable energy providers have to increase their prices in order to manage the potential risk. This bill would give the providers certainty and, hopefully, reduce the cost of renewable energy.
The hearing notice can be found here. Testimony can be submitted here.
Written by Anthony Aalto | Published in Smart Growth / Transport
Anyone who dares risk life and limb to ride their bike in this State can tell you first hand that we need more bike lanes! In Honolulu, a city that could be a mecca for bicyclists, with year-round good weather and a relatively compact urban area, bikes are instead persona non grata on our streets and sidewalks. Encouraging cycling reduces automobile traffic, green house gas emmisions, dependence on imported oil and is good for people’s health to boot. It should be a no-brainer for the state to aggressively encourage cycling, but this unfortunately doesn’t seem to be the case. HB 1080, scheduled for a hearing on Monday, February 11 at 10:00 a.m. in the House Committee on Transportation, is a bill that will take us a step closer to addressing this issue.
The existing law requires that the Department of Transportation consider establishment of bikeways, whenever practicable, wherever a new or existing highway, road, or street is being designed, planned, constructed, reconstructed, relocated, or rehabilitated. When a bikeway project isn’t practicable, the DOT isn’t required to do anything, resulting in no new bikeways, and causing the state to miss out on opportunities to secure additional federal funds for these projects. HB 1080 would amend the law to add a requirement that when bikeway projects aren’t practicable on the roadway under consideration, that the Department must consult with the biking community to identify alternative bikeway projects.
Please support this measure by submitting testimony here!
Written by Leilei Joy Shih | Published in Opala (Waste)
Two bills aimed at reducing the amount of food-service Styrofoam containers, properly known as Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) foam, will be heard tomorrow at the Hawaii State Legislature.
SB 619 would ban all EPS foam food service containers, which pose environmental and human health risks.
SB 620 would mandate that all restaurants and food providers offer compostable food containers at the same price as EPS foam ones.
EPS poses a significant environmental threat. Due to its lightweight nature, wind readily blows it out into the environment and onto the ocean. EPS also readily breaks down into little pieces and is frequently ingested by marine life. In one startling study of gut content, it was found that up to 40% of fish had ingested Styrofoam, effectively entering the human food chain.
Styrene, which is readily emitted from the foam, especially when holding hot food or when used for reheating, is a known carcinogen for animals and is strongly suspected to be a carcinogen for humans.
Typically less than 1% of Styrofoam is recycled in the U.S., with none of it being recycled in Hawaii. It is the second most common type of beach debris, and in 2011, almost 20% of waste gathered in California highway cleanup efforts was polystyrene.
Over 70 cities and counties in California alone have already enacted some form of polystyrene ban, as well as countries around the world, such as China and Haiti.
Adopting sustainable practices, and in particular, reducing deleterious marine debris, is imperative for Hawaii, where the ocean is an essential part of both culture and economy.
SB 619 and SB 620 will be heard tomorrow, February 7 at 2:45pm in Conference Room 225 at the Hawaii State Capitol in the Committee on Energy and Environment and the Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection.
Written by Anthony Aalto | Published in Smart Growth / Transport
Traffic isn’t the disease! It’s a symptom of the cancer called Suburban Sprawl that is rapidly killing the ‘aina.
But it doesn't have to be that way: tomorrow there’s a hearing on a really smart bill that, by tackling the traffic congestion symptom, could at least stop the sprawl from metastasizing.
HB1357 simply states that no new subdivisions can be built “until the director of transportation certifies to the Governor that adequate highway capacity exists for major peak-hour commuting to work in the county’s business district.”
Simple, right? If the roads can’t handle the traffic your project is going to generate, then you don’t get to build your project. Finis. Pau. End of story. It's a no brainer.
This would be a great way to encourage urban-infill and transit-oriented development and to stop paving over our farmlands.
The first hearing on this bill is tomorrow (maybe today by the time you read this) Wednesday February 6th at 11:20 a.m. in State Capitol Conference room 309.
Please send testimony in support by clicking here
The standard etiquette applies:
"Aloha Chair Yamane and Members of the Transportation Committee,
Thank you for the opportunity to testify.
I wish to express my strong support for HB 1357 for the following reasons..."
It’s a really simple argument to make: we have the most congested commute in the nation, no developer –no matter how big and influential- should be allowed to build a project that makes our freeway traffic nightmare any worse. Put it briefly in your own words. You can make your voice count.
Or better yet: why not come and testify in person?