In Print

  • Hawaii Becomes The First State To Ban Sunscreens That Harm Coral Reefs

    “This bill is a small first step worldwide to really caring about our corals,” Gov. David Ige (D) said.
    HuffPost - July 4, 2018

    Hawaii just took a big step to safeguard the state’s stunning coral reefs.

    Gov. David Ige (D) signed a bill on Tuesday banning almost all sunscreens that contain certain chemicals that damage coral reefs and other marine ecosystems. The legislation, which state lawmakers passed in May, prohibits the sale and distribution of nonprescribed sunscreens that contain oxybenzone or octinoxate, which can be lethal for coral larvae.

  • Hawaii's state senator says sunscreen ban unlikely to put tourists off

    Newstalk ZB - July 4, 2018

    The man behind Hawaii's new sunscreen ban doubts it will put tourists off visiting the state.

    Hawaii state senator, Mike Gabbard has introduced a law banning many popular sunscreen products, containing chemicals that harm coral reefs.

    Gabbard told Tim Dower he is sure tourists will be willing to slip, slop, slap with mineral sunscreens instead.

    "Obviously, with tourism being our economic engine here, we are not saying 'hey tourist, we don't want you to come here anymore, don't wear your sunscreen' there's plenty of sunscreens that are out there now."

  • Here’s How Hawaii’s Sunscreen Ban Will Affect Your Favorite Brands

    Observer - July 3, 2018

    There are few better places to spend a holiday at in the middle of a scorching heat wave than a beach. And, as doctors and dermatologists tirelessly warn, it’s crucial to put on enough sunscreen before you go out. Stock up while you can, because new legislation in Hawaii may soon take your favorite sunscreen brands off store shelves.

    Today, Hawaii Governor David Ige is expected to sign a bill passed in May that bans skincare companies from selling sunscreens that contain two chemicals deemed harmful to coral reefs.

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

    The Washington Post - July 2, 2018

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

    State lawmakers passed legislation in May that would ban skin-care companies from selling and distributing sunscreens on the islands that contain two chemicals deemed damaging to coral reefs. The bill is opposed by various companies and business associations and even some dermatologists, who worry that the ban may discourage people from wearing sunscreen at all.

  • Proposed bans on plastic straws run into resistance in Hawaii and dozens of U.S. cities

    Honolulu Star Advertiser - July 1, 2018

    Hard on the heels of banning plastic bags, states and cities are being pressed by environmentalists to eliminate another consumer convenience — plastic straws. But objections from the plastics industry, restaurants and disability advocates have derailed or delayed some proposed straw bans.

    And experts say cutting down on single-use plastic may be more about changing habits than changing laws.

    Three states — California, Hawaii and New York — have considered plastic straw legislation in 2018. Hawaii’s died, and the other two are still pending.

  • Hawaii is first in U.S. to ban chlorpyrifos

    Honolulu Star Advertiser - June 14, 2018

    Hawaii became the first state in the country to ban pesticides containing chlorpyrifos, a chemical that has been linked to disruptions in the brain development of babies and young children, with Gov. David Ige signing the measure into law on Wednesday.

    The new law also achieves goals that local environmental groups have spent years fighting for, including a ban on pesticide spraying within 100 feet of schools during instructional hours and increased reporting requirements for restricted-use pesticides that are deployed in large quantities.

  • 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.