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Bills to start potential carbon farming economy, combat climate change signed into law

By Staff | Jun 14, 2018

Hawaii Gov. David Ige signs the three bills into law as state officials — including West and South Maui Rep. Angus McKelvey (second from left) — look on. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE OFFICE OF GOVERNOR DAVID IGE.

HONOLULU – Gov. David Ige has signed into law three bills that set a carbon-neutral goal by 2045, create a carbon offset program and require a sea level rise analysis in environmental impact statements.

State Rep. Angus L.K. McKelvey (West Maui, Maalaea, North Kihei) is an active member of the House Energy and Environmental Protection Committee – a key panel responsible for pushing these measures forward – and participated in the bill signing ceremony to help underscore how these issues are significantly impacting his district of West Maui.

“I want to thank Representative Chris Lee for sponsoring these measures and seeing them through, because nowhere is this hitting home more than in my district of Lahaina,” said McKelvey.

House Bill 2106 requires a sea level rise analysis in environmental impact statements before building projects.

“Sea level inundation is already having an impact on our West Maui beaches, the Honoapiilani Highway, and homes and condos near the shoreline,” McKelvey said. “It just makes sense to finally take a proactive approach to adapting to sea level rise so that we don’t approve more buildings or infrastructure in future tidal zones.”

HB1986 creates a framework for a carbon offset program that allows for carbon credits through global carbon sequestration protocols.

“This could not only help create a green investor economy in Hawaii but be a key stimulus to create economic growth through reforestation of areas, making it more viable to pursue capturing carbon through reforestation and carbon farming rather than development, such as near Maalaea,” McKelvey said.

HB2182 makes Hawaii carbon-neutral by 2045 and establishes the Greenhouse Gas Sequestration Task Force as “our commitment to upholding the tenants of the Paris Accords despite its abandonment by the federal government,” McKelvey explained.