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Environmental Caucus Newsletter 1/13/13

Environmental Caucus Newsletter 1/13/13

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Published by Bill Sager
Issues and legislative priorities for the 2013 Hawaii Legislative Session
Issues and legislative priorities for the 2013 Hawaii Legislative Session

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Published by: Bill Sager on Jan 15, 2013
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01/16/2013

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Environmental
 
Caucus
 
of the Democratic Party of Hawaii
Newsletter
1/15/2013
FOOD AND FARM SUSTAINABLE COMMITTEE
: Juania Kawamoto, Chair1.continue to support establishment of school garden farms and training of garden educators -
 
encouragethe use of STEM system materials and techniques
. The
 
National Association of AgriculturalEducators
 
promotes STEM education through its advocacy and programs
 
specifically
 
related to teaching thescience of agriculture. The Association organizes the National Agriscience Teacher of the Year Award, whichrecognizes teachers who have inspired and enlightened their students through engaging and interactivelessons in the science of agriculture. The NAAE also provides a number of other resources for agriscienceeducators, including online professional development tools for Agriscience teachers.2. Continue work to resolve long-term ag lease for small farms. This goal was modified
 
this year to reflectour focus on community concerns and values including environmental impacts3. We are adding this year labeling of GMO foods sold to consumers. The public has the right to know whatthey are eating.4.Investigate and follow activities the Agricultural Development Corp. The ADC needs to shift its focus fromstrictly Big Ag to include encouraging small family farms and implement a program to provide small farmerslong term leases. A management audit is needed because as it stands now, anything goes - they are alsoexempt from public auction.5. Food safety is currently a major issue because inspectors have to be imported from the mainland. Thecost is prohibitive to small farmers.
:
bike safety
is improving with the passage of the vunerable user bill in 2012. It is now a
 
misdemenor for adriver to kill or injure a vulnerable user defined as a
 
pedestrian, someone in a wheel chair, a road worker ora bicyclist. A comprehensive program for complete streets, streets that are people friendly as well asvehicle friendly. The DOT must be required to include provision for pedestrians and bicyclists in theirtransportation planning.
 
barrel tax should be used correctly2. Place emphasis on
smart grid technology
that will enable HEI to accept power from diverse sources.HEI should be broken up so that they are responsible for distribution and power production can be enabledin as many sources as possible. Power should be produced as close to the user as possible. Hawaii needsto develop
 
ways to store
 
power from wind and solar sources. HEI needs to receive 80% of its power fromfirm sources that can be relied on. Storage is needed in order to make solar more effectivewe have seen wind energy project being exempted but these dont make economic sense
 
3. We will resist the assault on
solar tax credits
and work to fairly distribute tax credits to all alternate energysources. Also, we recognize that what are currently being called abuses of the solar tax credits needs to bestudied and if solar tax credits are being abused such abuse must be corrected.
 
One of our members who is an
alternate energy
specialist analyzed the relative economic value of windvs
 
solar
 
energy. His analysis shows that we can install solar power on every roof on Oahu far moreeconomical than the proposed
 
wind farms
 
and cable
 
transmission system from Molokai and Lanai.
NATURAL RESOURCE SUBCOMMITTEE:
 
Bill Sager, Chair 
The two top priorities
identified by the natural resources subcommittee are:1.Invasive species, support for control programs.2.Opposition to legislation authorizing government projects to excempt Government projects from thebidding process, severely limit citizen over site and exempt project from permitting requirements. Also, we advocate for a telework bill that will help minimize traffic.
Permitting exemptions
The recent approval of a 650 foot high-rise in Kakaako is an example of what can happen when Governmentprojects advance without public knowledge. While 40 development oriented organizations where consulted,the community developed master plan was ignored and no local environmental or cultural organizationswhere consulted. Read more: http://www.kitv.com/news/hawaii/Forest-City-wins-bid-to-develop-Kakaako-high-rise/-/8905354/17778684/-/xt0riqz/-/index.html#ixzz2HoqYBgqkThe HCDA is one of the organization created to facilitate development of State land. The HCDA is exemptfrom many of our bidding and zoning requirements. The Public Land Development Corporation, andorganization authorized by Act55-11, has even more onerous exemptions. The combination of the ability toconduct back-room negotiations, the exemption from all state and county land use laws, and the mandate toprovide accommodations for emerging international tourism markets are unique to the PLDC. This law givesthe state the ability to ramrod projects through that will increase tourism at a pace we haven’t seen since thewave of Japanese investment in the 1980-90s.Many people are working to develop Rules which will guide the PLDC activities. But the bottom line is onlythe law can truly define what the PLDC can do. If Act 55 cannot be repealed, it should be amended torequire the PLDC to abide by state permitting and zoning requirements, be transparent in all negotiation andprovide for full public involvement in the planning process.
Invasive Species
Your chair attended a hearing conducted by the Senate Energy and Environment Committee.(ENE) TheCommittee heard testimony from the DLNR, DOH and DOA and from all the Watershed Partnerships andInvasive Species Committees. The theme that ran through all the testimony is that they are overwhelmed bythe enormity of their mission, that their staffs have been decimated by budget cuts, that they need bio-securefacilities to inspect incoming cargo and they need dedicated funding that will assure they can do an effective job. Several organization pointed out that even with their skelton staff, they intercepted several dangerousinvasive species, but that they also had several bad guys slip through. When that happens emergencyresponse teams must be available to take aggressive action to eradicate incipient infestations.Most people do not recognize the threats invasive species pose to our islands. Mosquitoes can bring tropicaldiseases with a major impact on both public health and on tourism. Organisms that affect our farm crops cancost millions of dollars to control and invasive plants that like strawberry guava can destroy our native forest
 
with devastating impact on our watersheds.We cannot tolerate a program that provides to little to late. An affective program to prevent and controlinvasive species introductions is essential to the quality of life in Hawaii.
Nearshore Aquatic Resources Sub Committee of the Natural Resource Committee
:Wayne Tanaka, Chair 
1.Resources Enforcement and Aquatic Resource Management Needs More Funding
Our nearshore environment contributes greatly to the cultural, social, and economic wealth of thestate.
 
Recent economic analyses have estimated the value of our nearshore reefs at $34 billion dollarsa year, and that revenues generated from these resources approximate $800 million a year.
 
However,the amount of money that Hawai‘i invests in managing its aquatic resources has been ranked as 48
th
 
outof 50 states.
 
Similarly, Hawai‘i’s Division of Conservation and Natural Resources Enforcement(DOCARE), responsible for enforcing all natural resource, boating, state parks, and historic and culturalpreservation laws throughout the state receives less than $10 million a year.
 
In contrast, the HonoluluPolice Department, which is responsible primarily for enforcing county ordinances in populated areas onO‘ahu alone, has an annual budget of over $220 million dollars – over twenty times the amount ofmoney that DOCARE receives.
 
What will our legislature do to increase the capacity of our state agencies to manage our aquaticresources, and afford them a meaningful level of protection through enforcement and substantiverules?
 
Will they seek to invest meaningfully in the economic, social, and cultural foundation of ourislands?
 
Why did Department of Land & Natural Resources chairperson William Ail
ā
state that he didnot request funding for more enforcement officers because the Governor’s office told him “not to gothere” at a DLNR budget briefing?
 
Will our state’s Democratic Party recognize the need to startinvesting in our state’s most valuable asset, before it is too late?
 
2.Community Based Subsistence Fishing Areas
The concept of community-based subsistence fishing areas (CBSFAs) traces back to the days of pre-contact Hawai‘i, when residents of an ahupua‘a abided by place-based kapu based upon specific andlocalized knowledge of the nearshore resources in the area.
 
Similar management approaches havesuccessfully allowed communities in other jurisdictions to sustainably and equitably utilize commonlyshared resources, and CBSFAs have repeatedly been cited as key to the successful management of ournearshore aquatic resources.
 
The Department of Land & Natural Resources (DLNR) has had theauthority to implement CBSFAs since 1994, and communities from H
ā
‘ena to Miloli‘i have workeddiligently to develop and share their CBSFA proposals with the DLNR.
 
However, not a single CBSFAhas yet to be implemented despite twenty years of having these approaches recognized by thelegislature.
 
Will the DLNR propose budget appropriations or other legislation to finally get a CBSFA program off theground?
 
Will our legislators on the House Finance and Senate Ways and Means Committees providethe funding to support such requests?
 
3.Aquatic
 
Invasive Species Control
The Hawai‘i Invasive Species Council is an interagency body tasked with addressing the threats to Hawai‘i’seconomy, public health, and natural and cultural resources from invasive species.
 
In the aquatic resourcescontext, much funding has been invested in the council’s Supersucker partnership, which employs a floatingbarge and vacuums to carefully clean our nearshore reefs of invasive species such as gorilla ogo andmudweed.
 
However, this funding has been largely provided by third parties including the federal governmentand The Nature Conservancy.
 
As these funds dry up, will our legislators fulfill the DLNR’s request to finallyensure stable funding for this important and highly successful project that maintains the state’s nearshore

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