“Our journey to a sustainable Hawai‘i will be neither short nor simple. But there are actions that we can take immediately towards that end. We must concentrate on the children. For among our most important duties must be to define the Hawai‘i that they would want to be a part of in 2050.”
Hawaii Senate President
January 17, 2007
Sustainability Plan Briefing
Hawaii 2050 Sustainability Plan Briefing—Questions from the Audience
Panelists shared their expertise and work, which was followed by a question-and-answer dialogue. Due to the limited time, a number of questions could not be addressed at the session. These were sent to all the panelists. Below are the responses for those questions for which we received answers:
Panel 1 – County presentations:
Questions for All Panelists:
1. Like many other initiatives, the average resident is not aware of H2050. How did your group increase input from more diverse community groups after the Legislature required it? How were participants chosen and notified and included for comment?
Public Policy Center (PPC) Response: PPC: Please see our final report which is on our website, http://www.publicpolicycenter.hawaii.edu
. We describe our methodology to include as many diverse voices as possible.
2. Is Hawaii looking at other island sustainable technologies internationally, and specifically Australia, which has several island projects already in development?
Kaua‘i Response: We are always looking at other communities as models and island communities sometimes present the best models for us.
3. To achieve sustainability, the sustainability process cannot be subject to a fickle implementation plan based on short-term agendas. In the past several years there has been much legislation enacted to enhance sustainability efforts. Today we are in another crisis mode. And there is a push by some associated with the development community to amend or void the well-intended sustainability legislation. Your thoughts (i.e. the “show me the water” bill referenced by Mr. Hunt)?
Kaua‘i Response: On Kaua'i, the draft of our Energy Sustainability Plan provides a very long term look at how we will achieve our goal, and how we will pay for it. It can be viewed at http://www.kauainetwork.org
. If we are to implement this, short term agendas must be put aside. I think the public sector is beginning to see that we must begin to think long-term.
4. Any talk of anaerobic digestion as a way of treating waste?
Kaua‘i Response: This technology was thoroughly considered during our Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan update process, but was not recommended because it is currently not in large-scale commercial application and cannot treat the totality of municipal solid waste. That being said, it could be very viable for smaller-scale, specialty applications.
5. What initiatives are being taken to review land and water use laws to assure they support sustainability initiatives, especially agriculture vs further building development?
Kaua‘i Response: The Kauai County Council is currently considering measures to reduce density on open zoned lands. Kaua'i is currently conducting its Important Ag Land study as well.
6. How have the councils assured the native Hawaiian voice in discussions on sustainability?
Maui Response: Maui County has a Cultural Resources Commission that provides advice and approves and/or makes recommendations on permit applications. The
General Plan Advisory Committee that made recommendations on the update
of the General Plan included 3 native Hawaiians. The draft General Plan
contains numerous policies addressing native Hawaiian issues. Finally,
the Planning Department has been doing background research in order to
draft an ordinance that would implement aha moku councils per HB 1948 (2007 Regular Session).
7. What efforts are being made to support “cottage” food industries?
Kaua‘i Response: On Kaua'i we are working with the cattle ranching community to create a locally-grown beef economy. We are also reopening our papaya disinfestation plant so we can export our fruit. Eventual development of the Kilauea Ag Park (75 acres) by the County will also increase food production on Kaua'i.
8. How does Hawaii 2050 keep the general population involved?
PPC Response: The Center is aware that many very good plans are not adopted or implemented. The effort here is to bring many voices together, seek areas of consensus and encourage people at every level (home, worksite, neighborhood, county and state) to become active in bringing about the important changes that are necessary for a sustainable future. The PPC Report recommended that community groups working on sustainability projects be convened and continue to network through various channels, eg. websites. It also has recommended that the definition, goals, and principles be incorporated into the Hawai‘i State Plan to continue to support the work to date and encourage its long term continuity.
9. The Policy Center report states that there needs to be “the community will to adopt and nurture long-term commitment to achieve a sustainable Hawaii.” Communities throughout the state put hours and hours of volunteer time to craft plans for their communities. These plans include sustainable directives but the local plans are often ignored or not implemented by government. Your thoughts?
Kaua‘i Response: The County of Kaua'i will soon be finalizing its Kaua'i Energy Sustainability Plan. The Plan is a complete roadmap...including implementation and funding mechanisms. It will be a true test of our will to put a community-based plan to action.
PPC Response: Other groups have incorporated sustainability principles into their planning and programs. See the list of organizations in the inventory to date of activities in the PPC report at:
10. How are your counties becoming more bike and pedestrian friendly?
Kaua‘i Response: The County of Kaua'i is constructing what will eventually be an 18-mile coastal multi-modal path.
11. Can a person get county/state funding for development of sustainability ideas? If so, how?
Kaua‘i Response:: Currently, the County of Kaua'i has very limited funds available for such grants, although small grants are available through the Office of Economic Development for projects that will promote job growth in the renewable energy and agriculture sectors.
Question for Hawaii County (Alex Frost):
1. The Hawaii County General Plan focuses on the Community Development Plans for each of the 6 districts of Hawaii. The Kau Community Development Plan, in the past 6 months, has actively incorporated the H2050 goals into their plan. How has the county addressed the need to focus on H2050 goals for each of the other districts—Hilo, Puna, Kohala, Kona, Hamakua—in order to make the island of Hawaii sustainable by working with individual CPD’s?
Hawai‘i Response: The Kona CDP and the South Kohala CDP incorporated the definition of sustainability from the HI2050 Sustainability Plan. Each CDP emphasizes elements of sustainability based on a regional community context. To support the priorities developed by the community and to help integrate sustainability goals amongst various regional plan and the General Plan, the County passed a sustainability/eco-municipality resolution on November 4, 2009, which adopted the science based sustainability framework based on the natural step. The County of Hawaii in partnership with The Kohala Center (http://www.kohalacenter.org
) and The Natural Step (http://www.naturalstep.org
) will be publishing a Hawaii Sustainability Primer sometime during March 2010 to explain the concept behind the sustainability/eco-municipality resolution. The primer references many local case study, including the HI2050 Sustainability Plan.
Question for Maui County (Jeff Hunt):
1. Your report was excellent although some ideas are not new (eg mixed housing). What is the status of water availability on Maui? Can you be more specific on how this problem is being addressed.
Maui Response: No claims for originality - only examples of local efforts towards
sustainability. As for water, it is an issue in many areas of Maui
County, including an inadequate supply, concerns of depleted aquifers,
and litigation over allocations. In addition to the recently adopted
"show me the water" bill that requires a long term source be identified
prior to final subdivision approval, the County is updating our Water
Use and Development Plans and is in the midst of updating our General
Plan, all of which should provide better long range guidance.
Question for Kaua‘i County (Beth Tokioka):
1. Regarding the Kauai proposal to increase fuel tax by 50 cents, where will the funds go? Will it go to fund renewable energy or some kind of energy task force for Kauai?
Response: The 50 cent tax is far from a “done deal”, but if any surcharge is
implemented, the funds will be earmarked for expansion of our mass transportation program and/or incentives to replace conventional vehicles with hybrid or electric vehicles. The full plan can be viewed at http://www.kauainetwork.org
2. Please describe the measuring tool that Kauai is using; and how is it being used?
Response: The Kaua'i Planning and Action Alliance is tracking a set of 58 community indicators. So far there have been two reports issued (2006 and 2006). The data is very valuable to track our trending in areas such as economic growth, education, social well being, and cultural and environmental preservation. The community indicators report can be viewed on-line at http://www.kauainetwork.org
Panel 2: Community Voices
Questions for Mark Fox:
1. What other transformation policy(ies) would you recommend?
Response: We should implement Act 20 from the 2009 Legislative session and begin a true statewide assessment of the likely effects of climate change on Hawaii, our natural environment and human infrastructure, and develop a plan for those impacts which should include how we will respond to sea-level rise, possibly less rain but more frequent storms and high-wave events, ocean acidification that will damage coral reefs, and temperature increases that will affect forested watersheds, amongst other things.
As our economy improves, we need to start paying the true costs related to our uses and impacts on our environment. The bottle bill is a past example of transformational policy where feared negative economic impacts have not occurred and on the positive side we have gone from recycling 55% of beverage containers before HI-5 to about 80% recycling today. Other future examples should be:
i. Water fee to pay for watershed protection and management. Our current residential and commercial water bills only pay for the pumping, storage and delivery systems of our fresh water. We are not in any comprehensive way paying to care for the watersheds and forests that are the true source of that water, but which are under tremendous negative pressure from invasive species. In 2000, the Legislature considered a water fee for this purpose but ultimately approved a study (Act 152, SLH 2000). The appointed study commission, after a lot of analysis, ultimately recommended the consideration of a water fee in its final report back to the Legislature in 2001. No significant action has been taken since.
ii. Carbon or fossil fuel fee to support efforts towards energy and food security and independence, as well as resilience and adaptation to the inevitable effects of climate change. In 2009, the Legislature passed a $1/barrel oil tax. It was vetoed. It is again being considered this year. A tax at this level would cost each resident of Hawaii about $20-$25/year. It would raise approximately $25-$30M/year to support investments in renewable energy, energy efficiency improvements, diversified agriculture, and, hopefully, to help us plan for and adapt to the inevitable effects of climate change on these islands.
2. Would a ratepayer subsidy like the feed-in tariff be more affordable to the taxpayer than the 24-1/2% refund on PV. Note: As this was a technical query, the Public Policy Center asked the Hawai‘i Energy Policy Forum to respond to this question. Its response follows:
PPC/Hawai‘i Energy Policy Forum Response: No. A feed-in tariff is not a subsidy. It is a method of payment by the utilities for non-utility generation. Eliminating the tax credits would only increase the price of the feed-in tariffs. Although this would reduce taxes it would not be more affordable to Hawaii citizens. (See footnote for the policy discussion)
Questions for Jim Tollefson:
1. On the previous panel, the Maui County Planning Director mentioned that the county had passed several ordinances designed to enhance sustainability—one was the “show me the water” bill and one was the workforce affordable housing ordinance. Using the current state of the economy, members of the business community are seeking to amend or void these ordinances and the Maui Chamber is supporting that effort. Your thoughts?
Response from Maui County (Jeff Hunt): Both bills were recently adopted and, as is the case in many new ordinances, there is often the need for follow-up to fine tune the original legislation. For example, the Council is very close to adopting amendments to our Workforce Housing law, although I would describe these as revisions and not an overhaul or voiding. I think the depths of the Great Recession has caused concern in Maui County regarding regulatory impacts to economic development. However, we need to be careful not to over-react and base long range plans or make long lasting drastic legislative changes based on today's economy, because the economy will eventually improve.
Question for Sylvia Yuen:
1. We have children who grew up here, and completed their secondary education here, but moved to the mainland for college. After two or three years, they decided to come back and continue college at UH but were told that they should establish Hawaii residency again to be accepted with in-state tuition. They don’t feel welcome anymore. As a result, the child decided to just stay on the mainland to avoid paying out-of-state tuition. What are we doing to keep our children to further their education here in our own educational institutions?
Response: UH is working very hard to keep local students in Hawai`i and to have them continue their education “at home.” UH actively recruits throughout the state by sending faculty and student ambassadors to high schools on all islands, inviting elementary, middle, and high school students for campus visits and to special events to learn more about college programs, and offering a wide range of financial aid and scholarships. In addition, UH has an informal 30 percent cap on nonresident undergraduate enrollment as part of its commitment to prioritizing and ensuring sufficient opportunities for Hawai`i students. When local students attend college in another state and establish residency there, however, they are considered residents of that state. This is why these students must re-establish their Hawai`i residency before they can pay in-state tuition again; the only exceptions to this policy are students of Hawaiian ancestry. Although it didn’t apply to your situation, the policy regarding resident tuition (in which residents pay less for tuition than out-of-state residents) can be viewed as an incentive for Hawai`i students to continue their education at UH.
Youth Panel (Melinda Chinen and Cameron Dye):
1. I heard what you recommended for policy makers to do and consider. These are great and important, but what are you doing as students in the academic world to assist policymakers with education and making a change in the world that you would like to see?
Melinda: Academically, I feel that everything we are learning and being educated about in school is great. Schools provide a lot of classes and opportunities, but that is strictly it. Not many students are aware of Hawaii’s social, economic, and environmental issues. I realized that the students who are aware of these issues, do not care enough to want to help make a change. I know policymakers can only do so much, and I would like to state that students are probably not aware enough of these issues because of their other priorities [such as preparing for college, sports, activities, etc.]. But if we discussed more of these issues in depth during class time or if we did projects, I think my fellow classmates would begin to become concerned and possibly inspired. It honestly depends who you are, but I’m certain that many would eventually want to contribute to working on a better tomorrow and a sustainable future.
Cameron: For the most part, we are learning about what is happening to our global climate and community. We're at an age where what we learn directly influences what we'll do in the future. At my school, there are several clubs devoted to climate awareness and almost every student knows about climate change. For the most part, we as students are trying to understand what is truly happening and trying to promote and change in little ways (recycling, energy conservation, environmental awareness) so that when we grow up we'll have the ideas to make change easier.
2. Melinda mentioned that her classmates would get involved. What specific suggestions do you have for motivating young people as suggested?
Melinda: I love the quote, “a child only educated at school, is an uneducated child.” It reminds me that it takes more than Chemistry, correct grammar, Geometry, and etc. to learn about what really matters at the end of the day. Creating a better future if what matters at the end of each day and what it takes to do that is what students should also be educated on.
Maybe we need small changes, like teachers [advisory teachers?] should start discussing daily issues that Hawaii faces, or briefly skimming the newspaper and reading the highlights of the day to the students for a good 5-10 minutes. Maybe teachers should engage in lectures and projects. Projects that meet the requirements for their class, yet inspires students to make a change. I know it is hard to ask of that, considering the crammed lesson plans, academic requirements, and tight schedules due to furloughs and such, but they are just some ideas.
Cameron: For the most part, I believe that we need to further educate on sustainability. Not everyone agrees on climate change and because of that, a lot of people don't think about sustainable living. More education on environmental science, especially our impact on the world around us would help motivate many students. Besides this, we receive all of our ideas from what is happening in our school, our homes, and our community. If our community takes large steps in the direction of sustainability, many students will look the changes and from that point on, change their lives to be more sustainable.
3. How do we engage youth? Can you provide more concrete advice or opinions on what we can do?
Melinda: One teacher that really educates my fellow classmates and I about the economy and environment is my AP World History teacher. She teaches us a lot about history and a lot about the issues our world is faced with and we’ve done many projects that only inspired us and expanded our knowledge of that topic [school budget cuts, global warming, etc.]. I think that if more teachers made learning interesting and more relevant to sustainability, students would be so much more conscious and aware of Hawaii’s issues. She made the projects very elaborate and she made sure we learned everything in depth, so it really taught us about what we can offer to our community. The project I did last year for her Pre AP class, was called Project Citizen and it really inspired my group and I to help my community. Overall, small changes are a start for improvement, as I stated above. Getting students to become aware of this Sustainability Plan would also be something you may want to think about sharing.
Cameron: Sustainability needs to be something that everyone is a part of. Currently with plans and resolutions such as this, there is a feeling that it is still strictly legislative. This plan is good because it involves the community, yet pressure and interest also needs to be given to youth. There is no way to guarantee a huge supporting of students for plan such as this one, however if possibly more of the youth will become engaged in sustainability. By bringing about it and consider being a part.