In Print

  • Is HECO ‘Dragging Anchor’ On Push To Renewable Energy?

    Some critics complain the utility isn’t moving fast enough to wean the state off fossil fuels, but HECO says it’s met every deadline.
    Honolulu Civil Beat - May 24, 2018

    When Hawaii utility regulators approved a program to let condo residents buy energy from off-site solar farms in December, it seemed a major part of the state’s population was poised to be able to reduce their electric bills and go green when it came to powering their homes.

    Hawaiian Electric Industries and its subsidiaries were supposed to submit a plan to fill in the details within 60 days. After that, it seemed, developers could start building small solar farms from which condo dwellers and renters could buy energy.

  • Hawaii's Sunscreen Ban Doesn't Hit Until 2021, but the Reason for It Is Scary

    Glamour - May 15, 2018

    Sunscreen is the best it's ever been. It's lightweight, fast-absorbing, beautifully fragranced, and at long last a pleasure to use. There's just one problem: Despite 2014's Sunscreen Innovation Act, the FDA hasn't OK'd any new sunscreen ingredients in 10 years. And now researchers are finding evidence that some commonly used chemicals pose a huge threat to our marine environments and may have unintended consequences on human health. This month Hawaii became the first place in the U.S.

  • The Fight To Save A Sacred Owl In West Oahu

    A nonprofit group based in Ewa Beach is concerned future development will destroy the habitat of the Hawaiian short-eared owl.
    Honolulu Civil Beat - May 14, 2018

    A plan by University of Hawaii officials to help bring an endangered owl back to the West Oahu campus is coming under fire from a group of Ewa Beach residents who say the plan falls far short of creating protected habitat for the sacred owl.

    Efforts to protect the pueo, the Hawaiian short-eared owl, also suffered a setback when the Legislature adjourned earlier this month without putting in place a hoped-for new study of the owl statewide and money for environmental rehabilitation at the West Oahu campus.

  • County works to fund ag theft initiative after failed legislation

    West Hawaii Today - May 13, 2018

    That’s the message the state Legislature sent when it spiked House Bill 1883 HD2 SD2 out of conference committee — Speaker Scott Saiki discharging House conferees before legislators held a hearing.

    The measure, introduced by Rep. Richard Creagan, D-South Kona and portions of North Kona and Ka‘u, would have extended an existing Hawaii County program by establishing a two-year agricultural theft and vandalism pilot project to run through the state Department of Agriculture.

  • Representative Chris Lee Announces Passage of Bills Making Hawai’i Carbon Neutral

    Maui Watch - May 9, 2018

    Community, business, and government leaders gathered today to announce the passage of House Bill 2182, a new law making Hawai‘i the first state to commit to a zero emissions clean economy and statewide carbon neutrality by 2045, and House Bill 1986, which directs the establishment of a carbon credit program to bring investment in carbon offsets to Hawaiʻi businesses and agriculture.

  • Hawaii Just Found A New Way To Fight Climate Change

    Offsetting carbon emissions by doing things like planting trees is the vision, but it's far from ready to be implemented.
    Honolulu Civil Beat - May 9, 2018

    How much is a tree worth to the environment?

    It might seem like an abstract, even whimsical question. But it's one that Hawaii policymakers soon will try to answer, thanks to two bills passed by the Legislature during the session that ended on Thursday.

    House Bills 2182 and 1986 seek to make Hawaii a "carbon neutral" state by 2045. That means Hawaii would offset more carbon dioxide than it produces, through activities like planting trees, which can essentially store carbon, the greenhouse gas responsible for climate change.

  • Hawaii might be about to ban your favorite sunscreen to protect its coral reefs

    The Washington Post - May 2, 2018

    From Banana Boat to Coppertone, major sunscreen brands may soon have to revamp their products or stop selling them in Hawaii.

    State lawmakers passed legislation Tuesday that would ban skin-care companies from selling and distributing sunscreens on the islands that contain two chemicals deemed damaging to coral reefs.

    If Gov. David Ige (D) signs the bill, it would make Hawaii the first state to enact legislation designed to protect marine ecosystems by banning such sunscreens.

  • Hawaii Lawmakers Pass Ban on Coral-Damaging Sunscreen

    EcoWatch - May 2, 2018

    Lawmakers in Hawaii passed a bill Tuesday prohibiting the sale of sunscreens that are harmful to ocean ecosystems, including coral reefs.

    The bill now heads to Governor David Ige for his signature. If signed, Hawaii will ban these sunscreens starting Jan. 1, 2021 and become the first state in the nation to enact such a law.

    The measure, introduced by Democratic State Senator Mike Gabbard, bans in Hawaii the sale and distribution of all sunscreen containing oxybenzone and octinoxate without a prescription from a licensed healthcare provider.

  • Lawmakers take on housing crisis

    Honolulu Star Advertiser - May 2, 2018

    Lawmakers say they made good on their pledge to address the state’s homeless and affordable-housing crises with strategies they described as groundbreaking and bold during the 2018 legislative session, which ends Thursday.

    Studies estimate the state needs to add more than 25,000 units to the housing inventory on Oahu alone over the next decade to keep up with demand, with much of the need for middle- and lower-income families. Meanwhile, Hawaii continues to lead the nation with the highest per capita rate of homelessness.

  • Hawaii poised to be first in sunscreen legislation

    Honolulu Star Advertiser - May 2, 2018

    Hawaii lawmakers Tuesday passed a bill banning the sale of sunscreens containing chemicals deemed harmful to coral reefs.

    If Gov. David Ige signs the bill into law, it will take effect Jan. 1, 2021, and make Hawaii the first state in the nation to enact such a law.

    Senate Bill 2571, introduced by state Sen. Mike Gabbard (D, Kapolei-­Makakilo), prohibits the sale and distribution of over-the-counter sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate in Hawaii. It sailed through the Senate, with no opposition, and received four “no” votes in the House on Tuesday.


    Hawaii did what Pruitt’s EPA wouldn’t.
    Hawaii Reporter - May 1, 2018

    Today Hawaii did what the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under Scott Pruitt had failed to do: it banned the neurotoxin chlorpyrifos that can trace its genealogy to nerve agents used in World War 1. It took several years of grassroots activism, ongoing court battles, and a high profile advocacy campaign by a determined coalition, as well as leadership from key legislative champions like Senator Russell Ruderman, Rep. Richard Creagan, Rep.Dee Morikawa, Senator Mike Gabbard, and Representative Chris Lee.

  • Chad Blair: The Most Progressive Legislative Session In A Long Time

    Hawaii Chad Blair: The Most Progressive Legislative Session In A Long Time From approving medical aid in dying to banning certain sunscreens and pesticide chemicals, legislators passed bills they only thought about in years past.
    Honolulu Civil Beat - May 2, 2018

    Doing his best Bob Dylan, a state senator literally sang the praises of the Hawaii Legislature on Tuesday.

    Strumming a guitar and blowing a harmonica, Mike Gabbard opened the Senate floor session by singing about bills banning pesticides and setting up protective buffer zones around schools, restricting coral-damaging chemicals in sunscreens, expanding medical marijuana use for qualified patients, building legal homeless camps and asking voters to give the Legislature the authority to raise taxes in order to pay teachers more money.

  • Hawaii May Be The First State To Ban Reef-Killing Sunscreens

    Studies show that chemicals in popular sunscreen brands are extremely harmful to coral reef.
    Huffington Post - May 2, 2018

    Hawaii may soon be the first state in the U.S. to ban sunscreens with chemicals that harm nature.

    State lawmakers on Tuesday passed a bill that bans the sale of sunscreens that have chemicals believed to damage coral reefs. The ban is scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, 2021, once it is signed by Gov. David Ige (D).

    The bill specifically prohibits the sale and distribution of sunscreens that contain oxybenzone and octinoxate. The ban will not affect medically-prescribed sunscreens containing those chemicals.

  • Hawaii could become the first state to ban chlorpyrifos

    Activists have been fighting for years for a comprehensive pesticide regulation bill. Now one is heading to a final floor vote after passing through conference committee.
    Hawaii Independent - April 27, 2018

    A bill that would put in place several different regulations on industrial agricultural restricted pesticide use has passed it’s biggest hurdle on the way to becoming a groundbreaking law. Earlier today, the bill passed through conference committee with unanimous support from both house and senate conferees, including Maui Senator Roz Baker, who has been a staunch industry ally in the past, leveraging her power to kill previous years’ iterations.

  • Pesticide Compromise Reached As Conference Committee Time Expires

    Measures on medical marijuana and all-mail voting are moving forward before the session wraps up next week.
    Honolulu Civil Beat - April 27, 2018

    One of the most controversial measures of the Hawaii legislative session cleared a major hurdle Friday.

    Senate Bill 3095 calls for mandatory disclosure of pesticide use, a reporting and regulation program and the creation of buffer zones around schools when restricted-use pesticides are sprayed.

    It also would ban the use of pesticides containing chlorpyrifos starting in 2019, though there’s some debate about the chemical’s impact on human health. The bill allows the state Department of Agriculture to grant permits allowing its use through 2022.

  • Committee OKs pesticide bill

    The Garden Isle - April 28, 2018

    HONOLULU — The House and Senate Conference Committee approved a pesticide regulation bill Friday, two hours before their deadline and after rescheduling the hearing twice.

    The vote was unanimous.

    “We all know for many years people across the state have been demanding the state take action on pesticide use and environmental health ramifications and we have been slow to act, and I apologize for that,” said Sen. Mike Gabbard, chair of the Senate Agriculture and Environment Committee.

  • Hawaii News Big Island receives LFA funding as Legislature mulls Hawaii Invasive Species Authority

    West Hawaii Today - April 24, 2018

    KAILUA-KONA — The state is sending reinforcements to West Hawaii to help aid in the fight against little fire ants (LFA), an invasive species that’s grown steadily more prevalent in the region over the last decade.

    Lawmakers included $200,000 in the state budget to support education and outreach in West Hawaii and establish a full-time position to direct efforts on the leeward side through the Hawaii Ant Lab of the Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit of the University of Hawaii.

  • Pesticide-Free Buffer Zones Around Schools Measure Could Fail

    Hawaii Public Radio - April 23, 2018

    A bill to create restricted pesticide-free buffer zones around Hawai’i schools is currently stalled at the legislature. HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports.

    Senate Bill 3095 is currently in conference committee. But, the Senate has not assigned any of its members to work on the measure and it could die if there’s no agreement by the April 27th deadline. Senator Russell Ruderman introduced the bill.