In Print

  • Lawmakers weigh disposable-bag fee

    The 10-cent charge for paper and plastic versions would fund watershed protection
    Honolulu Star Advertiser - February 3, 2013

    Single-use disposable checkout bags — whether paper or plastic — would carry a 10-cent fee charged to shoppers under a proposal that is back before lawmakers.

    Several variations of the so-called "bag bill" have been introduced once again after Gov. Neil Abercrombie suggested in his State of the State speech that such a fee could raise as much as $15 million for watershed protection initiatives.

  • Blame it on the oil

    West Hawaii Today - January 30, 2013

    Hawaiian Electric Co. officials were hesitant Tuesday to pick one path as the sole avenue to reduce Hawaii’s high energy costs.

    HECO Executive Vice President Robbie Alm told state senators and representatives the state’s electricity providers have to reduce the amount of oil-fueled energy, but also need to explore the possibilities of an interisland cable transferring power from one island to another, bringing liquefied natural gas in large quantities to the state and increasing the renewable energy portfolio.

  • Rights groups seek action on legalization of same-sex marriage

    Honolulu Star Advertiser - January 26, 2013

    Two years after Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed a law approving civil unions for couples in Hawaii, civil rights groups are mobilizing at the Legislature to make a push for legalizing same-sex marriage.

    Proposals in the House and Senate would extend to same-sex couples the right to marry and receive all the same rights, benefits, protections and responsibilities of marriage as opposite-sex couples.

  • Hawaii lawmakers push for marriage amendments

    Honolulu Star Advertiser - January 25, 2013

    A bipartisan group of 15 Hawaii representatives is advocating for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
    If passed, the amendment would be placed on the ballot during the November 2014 election.

    Sen. Mike Gabbard, a Democrat, is proposing a similar bill in the Senate.

    A bill to legalize same-sex marriage was also introduced in the House on Thursday. Rep. Faye Hanohano, a Democrat, is the bill’s sole sponsor.

  • A call to action

    Abercrombie urges lawmakers to change the tone of politics and fund public preschool
    Honolulu Star Advertiser - January 23, 2013

    Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Tuesday condemned the "virus of absolutism" that he said infects politics, and appealed to state lawmakers to set strident voices aside and take action on early childhood education, renewable energy, economic diversification and the state's debt.

  • DLNR Renews Calls for Watershed Protection in 2013 Legislative Session

    Honolulu Civil Beat - January 14, 2013

    The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources is mounting a renewed push for long-term funding for the protection of the state’s critical watershed areas.
    At stake is the islands’ fresh water supply. Hawaii's streams and estuaries are being threatened by hotter and drier conditions due to climate change, and watershed forests are being ravaged by invasive species, state and county officials told the Senate Energy and Environment Committee at a Friday briefing.

  • State must fight invasive species now to minimize future costs, groups say

    Honolulu Star Advertiser - January 12, 2013

    If the state fails to provide adequate funding for protection from invasive plant and animal species, it could cost the state more in the long run, state and private agency heads told the Senate Energy and Environment Committee on Friday.

    "If we don't put adequate resources into it now, who's going to pay the consequences? It'll be our children and grandchildren," said Teya Penniman, manager of the Maui Invasive Species Committee, in a hearing at the state Capitol.

  • State must fight invasive species now to minimize future costs, groups say

    Honolulu Star Advertiser - January 12, 2013

    If the state fails to provide adequate funding for protection from invasive plant and animal species, it could cost the state more in the long run, state and private agency heads told the Senate Energy and Environment Committee on Friday.

    "If we don't put adequate resources into it now, who's going to pay the consequences? It'll be our children and grandchildren," said Teya Penniman, manager of the Maui Invasive Species Committee, in a hearing at the state Capitol.

  • State Exempts Some Solar Projects From Tax Credit Crackdown

    Honolulu Civil Beat - December 13, 2012

    CORRECTION: The state tax department says that exemptions, or "letter rulings," were sent out November 29, not on Wednesday, as a previous version of this article stated.

    The Hawaii Department of Taxation has exempted some solar projects from new rules that effectively limit the number of state tax credits that can be claimed on solar systems.

  • Cause of wind farm fire still under investigation

    Honolulu Star Advertiser - December 5, 2012

    Members of the state Senate Energy and Environment Committee expressed frustration Tuesday after learning that an investigation into the cause of a fire that destroyed First Wind’s battery energy storage facility at a Kahuku wind farm in August is still not complete.

    The fire was the third reported at the facility since it opened in March 2011. First Wind executive Tom Siegel said it won’t be until summer that the 15-megawatt facility can come back online.

  • Hawaii's Booming Solar Industry In Uproar Over New Tax Credit Rules

    Honolulu Civil Beat - November 14, 2012

    New rules issued by the Hawaii Department of Taxation last week aimed at clarifying how solar tax credits should be calculated are pitting solar companies against each other, angering environmental groups and forcing legislative leaders to grapple with how to manage an increasingly hostile debate this upcoming legislative session.

    The tax department’s new rules effectively restrict the number of tax credits that homeowners and solar companies can claim on solar arrays.

  • Hawaii's Booming Solar Industry In Uproar Over New Tax Credit Rules

    Honolulu Civil Beat - November 14, 2012

    New rules issued by the Hawaii Department of Taxation last week aimed at clarifying how solar tax credits should be calculated are pitting solar companies against each other, angering environmental groups and forcing legislative leaders to grapple with how to manage an increasingly hostile debate this upcoming legislative session.

    The tax department’s new rules effectively restrict the number of tax credits that homeowners and solar companies can claim on solar arrays.

  • Lawmaker seeks solution to costly renewable-energy credit

    Honolulu Star Advertiser - November 11, 2012

    State Sen. Mike Gabbard is hoping informal discussions he is coordinating outside the glare of the legislative spotlight will lay the groundwork for passage of a bill reforming Hawaii's renewable-energy tax credit when lawmakers return to work next year.

    The chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and the Environment has pulled together a range of stakeholders for a series of meetings, including representatives from the solar and wind energy industries, state agencies, utilities and the Legislature.

  • Changes to Hawaii’s solar energy tax credit may slow photovoltaic industry

    Pacific Business News - November 9, 2012

    Hawaii’s fast-growing solar photovoltaic industry may be slowing down just a bit, thanks to changes to the state’s solar energy tax credit.

    The main point of the new temporary administrative rules on tax credit, which apply to systems installed and placed into service on or after Jan. 1, 2013, limits the number of tax credits that homeowners may claim on multiple systems.

  • Hawaii Invasive Species Budget Lacking

    Honolulu Civil Beat - August 16, 2012

    The Hawaii Invasive Species Council has approved a $1.8 million annual budget for fiscal year 2013.

    But this is not enough to fulfill statewide goals of combatting the problem that the state Legislature called “the single greatest threat to Hawaii’s economy and natural environment and to the health and lifestyle of Hawaii’s people,” according to a DLNR press release.

    The estimated amount of total funding needed is more than $13 million annually.

  • Big Island Biodiesel is Up and Running

    Big Island News Center - July 3, 2012

    Another step toward energy independence was celebrated Monday at the grand opening of Big Island Biodiesel, the latest project of Pacific Biodiesel Technologies, LLC. Big Island Biodiesel, LLC is Hawaii’s newest and most advanced biodiesel production facility and the first biofuel refinery to be built since 2000 when Pacific Biodiesel constructed its Sand Island refinery on Oahu. The plant is in Kea’au at the Shipman Industrial Park.

    The project was the brainchild of Robert King, President of Pacific Biodiesel Technologies.

  • Hawaii Senate Raises $9,400 for Hawaii Foodbank

    Honolulu Civil Beat - May 2, 2012

    If you’ve been down to the state Capitol in recent months, you’ve no doubt seen the fliers taped up in the elevators promoting fundraisers to benefit the Hawaii Foodbank.

    Hawaii senators got creative this year, going beyond the typical canned-goods drives. Sen. Mike Gabbard, for example, organized a “Capitol Idol” talent show to raise money. Sen. Clayton Hee hosted a “Dunk-a-Thon” fundraiser on the lawn of the Capitol.

    In all, senators raised $9,400 for the nonprofit, the Associated Press reports. Gabbard’s office alone raised more than $2,000.

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