Hawai‘i bill promotes zero-emission travel between islands

  • Hawaii State Sen. Chris Lee, center, speaks at a news conference in Honolulu on Thursday, May 19, 2022. Hawaii lawmakers this year passed legislation creating a working group to develop ways to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions on transportation between the islands. (AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy)

HONOLULU — Hawai‘i lawmakers this year passed legislation creating a working group to develop ways to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions on transportation between the islands.

Sen. Chris Lee said at a news conference on Thursday that Hawai‘i has some of the highest transportation costs in the nation because of its dependence on imported fossil fuels. Shifting to cleaner energy sources could help lower those costs, he said.

The bill, SB 3311, establishes a zero emissions goal for all Hawai‘i transportation in general. It doesn’t set a deadline, but Lee said the measure would help Hawai‘i reach a pre-existing target to become carbon neutral by 2045.

The interisland transportation working group would include representatives of the airline and cruise ship industries and Honolulu harbor users. Each county would have a seat, along with the state director of transportation and the state’s chief energy officer.

The measure creates another working group to make sure Hawai‘i has enough electric vehicle chargers.

Jodi Leong, a spokesperson for Gov. David Ige, said he supports the intent of the bill but is waiting for a legal, policy and departmental review to be finished before signing the measure.

Hawai‘i is already requiring electric utilities to use renewable energy for 100% of their electricity by 2045.

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