Kauai News

Legislature Passes Several Key Energy, Environmental Protection Measures

Posted May 9, 2022, 2:32 PM HST

Among the many measures approved during the 2022 state legislative session, which ended Thursday, May 5, were several bills that will benefit the environment and continue the state’s push toward the use of clean energy.

State of Hawa‘i seal. Image courtesy of the State of Hawai‘i.

The Legislature reaffirmed its climate leadership with bills that promote energy efficiency, economy-wide decarbonization, a continued push to accelerate the state’s transition to clean energy and measures to reduce the energy burden borne by low- and moderate-income families.

“The bills we passed this year will help reduce Hawai’i’s contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions, save tax dollars, support local, green jobs and protect our planet’s future,” state House Energy and Environmental Protection Committee Chairwoman Rep. Nicole Lowen, who represents Kailua-Kona, Holualoa, Kalaoa and Honokōhau on the Big Island, said in a press release.

Bills sent to Gov. David Ige for his consideration include:

House Bill 1801: Energy Efficiency of State Facilities

This measure directs the state to implement energy efficiency measures that will save energy and money and create clean energy jobs. This bill also requires that state building energy use data be collected and made publicly available, and that all new facilities be designed to maximize energy and water efficiency, and use low-carbon building materials, where feasible and cost-effective.

HB 1800: Pathways to Decarbonization Study and 2030 goals

This bill sets interim greenhouse gas reduction targets for 2030 of 50% reduction from 2005 levels, in line with the Paris Agreement. It also funds a comprehensive study to determine the state’s pathways to decarbonizing its economy and identify challenges, opportunities and actions needed to meet these goals.

HB 2089: Renewable Portfolio Standard Loophole

This bill fixes a longstanding loophole in the formula used to calculate electric utilities’ progress on renewable energy.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 242: LIHEAP

The resolution convenes a working group to examine how to best implement a state-level Low Income Household Energy Assistance Program.

SCR 48: Energy Equity and Justice

This resolution directs the state Public Utilities Commission and Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs to integrate considerations of energy equity and justice throughout their work.

Senate Bill 3325: Carbon Smart Land Management Assistance Program

This measure creates a carbon smart land management assistance program to provide incentives for farmers and foresters to manage their lands in ways that help to sequester carbon emissions.

SB 3004: Compost Reimbursement Program

This bill creates incentives for farmers and landscapers to use compost.

HB 1992: Permitting for Composting

This measure removes zoning barriers and provides support for navigating the permit process for medium- and large-scale composting.

HB 2195: Cesspool Compliance Grant Program

This piece of legislation establishes a grant program for low- and moderate-income property owners or Department of Hawaiian Home Lands lessees to assist with the costs of cesspool conversions on properties that are near shorelines or other water sources.

HB 1644: PFAS Chemicals

This bill phases out the use of toxic “forever chemicals” that have been shown to cause numerous harmful impacts to human health in certain types of food packaging and firefighting foam.

HB 1640: Electronic Waste

This legislation updates and improves the state’s electronic waste recycling program. It also provides more funds to the counties to expand electronic waste collection events, increases recycling goals for manufacturers and collectors and expands the types of electronics to be collected.

SB 2998: Deposit Beverage Container Redemption Center Audits

This measure requires the state Department of Health to conduct risk-based audits of deposit beverage container redemption centers to help reduce fraud and improve the deposit beverage container program.

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