HONOLULU — An update to the state 2050 Sustainability Plan is being uplifted by seven bills Gov. David Ige signed Friday.
“I applaud the Legislature’s focus on sustainability issues this session,” Ige said in a press release.
“We are united in our commitment to statewide sustainability and climate adaptation. We take these actions today without compromising the ability of future generations of Hawai‘i to thrive,” he said.
Three of the signed bills will help create demand for local food products that will benefit both growers and consumers, supporting the administration’s goal of doubling local food production.
House Bill 767 establishes a farm-to-school goal of 30% local products by 2030.
HB 817 requires and establishes benchmarks for each state department to ensure that a certain percentage of the produce purchased by that department consists of fresh, local agricultural products or local, value-added, processed, agricultural or food products.
Senate Bill 512 allows SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly food stamps) recipients to continue using the popular Double Up Food Bucks program to buy fresh and healthy foods that are locally grown.
Two of the signed bills will help the state plan and prepare for sea-level rise.
HB 243 requires state agencies to identify existing and planned facilities that are vulnerable to sea-level rise, flooding or other natural disasters, and develop a plan to minimize the impacts of these threats. The state will lead by example and take the necessary steps to ensure resiliency in the face of climate change.
SB 474 requires that anyone selling a home must disclose if the property lies within a sea-level-rise-exposure area. This bill puts Hawai‘i on the leading edge of addressing coastal-erosion impacts.
Two bills support the state’s effort to diversify the economy through sustainability. There is an opportunity to create new economic activity and skilled jobs through innovation and addressing the many challenges posed by climate change.
HB683 establishes a sustainable-aviation-fuel program to support businesses in Hawai‘i that develop products related to reducing the greenhouse-gas impacts of commercial aviation.
HB1176 creates a green-jobs program focused on nurturing the workforce needed to meet climate-change goals. This is an important effort as the economy pivots toward new, emerging sectors, Ige said.
In addition, Ige announced that the 10-year update of the Hawai‘i 2050 Sustainability Plan has been completed. The update will guide the 2020-30 Decade of Action declared by the United Nations, to accelerate sustainable solutions for the world’s biggest challenges. The update will also serve as the state’s climate and sustainability strategic-action plan.
One of the first priorities is to promote a sustainable economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.
“Our vision includes a diversified economy that is rebuilt sustainably, not a simple return to business as usual. We see increased self-sufficiency, green-job opportunities, investment in our communities, in education and people, and investment in local infrastructure,” said Ige.
The plan focuses on reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, improving climate resilience, advancing sustainable communities, advancing equity, initializing sustainability throughout government, preserving the natural environment and perpetuating traditional ecological knowledge and values.
“The Hawai‘i 2050 Plan furthers my Sustainable Hawai‘i Initiatives, which aim to protect Hawai‘i’s watersheds and nearshore waters, prevent, detect and control invasive species, double local food production, and reach 100% renewable-energy use in the electricity sector by the year 2045. The bottom line is, we have a collective commitment to meeting Hawai‘i’s sustainability and climate goals,” said Ige.
“Without action, climate change will cause irreversible damage. I wholeheartedly support these bills being signed today, because in just 10 years I hope to be living in a better, healthier, and more sustainable island home,” said Sariah Banks, sophomore, and student senator of the Associated Students of Mililani High School.
“Enacting these laws and launching these plans will protect our ecosystem, help local agriculture and promote green-job opportunities. We are the future. And we need the government, businesses, and organizations throughout Hawai‘i to protect our islands and our future,” she said.