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LETTERS for the October 17 issue

By Staff | Oct 18, 2019

It’s time to sit down and be counted

Not long ago, millions of people, all around the globe, went on a one-day strike. They marched, spoke and demonstrated their commitment to dealing with global climate change. The poster child of this movement was a 16-year-old young woman whose commitment and commentary was too powerful to ignore. Her leadership included an electrifying address to the United Nations, which was echoed by young people around the globe.

Now that this paradigm-changing event is in our rearview mirrors, it is time to consider our next steps. One question is: how can we help keep the heat on climate change inactivists and critics while at the same time illuminating the positive elements of the climate change debate? How can we move our positive agenda forward, enlist more allies and communicate with decision-makers?

One powerful and proven event is sitting down, with pen or keyboard in hand, and writing letters. Political and opinion leaders do pay attention, particularly when the material in our letters is buttressed by facts, current events and civil discourse.

One of the most active elements, and a prime topic for letters, in the current climate change debates is known as “carbon pricing.” The idea is to incent users of carbon-based fuels by creating a surcharge on large industrial users of sales of coal, oil, gas and other carbon-based fuels. One of the most innovative ideas on how to promote this strategy is to incorporate in the legislation a requirement that the funds generated by the surcharge will be paid to all American citizens, thus protecting consumers and others against the price hikes in carbon fuels that the surcharge will produce.

Here is a brief outline on how this concept, sponsored by an organization known as the Citizens Climate Lobby (www.citizensclimatelobby.org) would work. Their bill is known as the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (HR-763).

ENERGY INNOVATION: This concept imposes a fee on the carbon content of fuels, including crude oil, natural gas, coal and others, which will emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The fee is imposed on the producers or importers of the fuels. The rate begins at $15 a ton of CO2 pollution emitted beginning in 2020. Projections from several research institutions indicate that a bill like this will result in a 40 percent decrease in the use of carbon-based fuels in 12 years.

CARBON DIVIDEND: Historically, voter and industry objections to initiatives similar to this bill have centered around the negative financial impact on consumers of so-called “carbon taxes.” It was feared that the polluters would pass their costs on to consumers, causing an overall cost of living increase. The Carbon Dividend portion of this bill presents an effective and exciting solution to this issue. Under the terms of the bill, all American citizens will receive an equally divided dividend of their portion of the funds collected.

Right now, carbon pricing bills are active in many legislative bodies at the local, state and national levels. This is why right now is a perfect time to sit down and communicate with local and national legislators. Right now will never come again; let’s take advantage of it now.

For more information on how the organizers and participants in the first climate strike are continuing their efforts, e-mail mauicclnow@gmail.com.

To find out which Maui organizations are active in this campaign, and offer ways to participate, conduct a Google search on “Maui environmental organizations.”

JEFF STARK, Citizens Climate Lobby, Maui Chapter


What’s the history behind Front Street bricks?

I am a history buff. On my recent visit to Lahaina, I noted that in the vicinity of 790 Front St., there are bricks all over the walkways.

What is the history behind these bricks? I have scoured the Internet and have found nothing, except that some of the bricks were manufactured in Missouri.



Mahalo for commenting on injection well lawsuit

Mahalo nui loa to all community members, administration officials and professionals who came out in unprecedented numbers on the issue of whether to settle the injection well lawsuit and move forward with solutions locally or let the case go to the U.S. Supreme Court. While there was overwhelming support for settlement, especially among our youth testifiers, the council weighed all testimony and clearly struggled in this decision.

While it may be somewhat dysfunctional that our Maui County Charter mandates Corporation Counsel to serve both the mayor and the County Council, the charter does provide the following in cases of ambiguity: “Section 2.2. Exercise of Powers. All powers of the county shall be carried into execution as provided by this charter, or, if the charter makes no provisions, as provided by ordinance or resolution of the county council.”

The resolution passed at the Sept. 20, 2019 council meeting, to accept the previously revised settlement offer in the case of Maui County vs. Hawaii Wildlife Fund, has the force and effect of law and therefore removes authorization for the mayor to continue seeking a Supreme Court hearing on the matter. The council expects to be fully represented in this matter by our Special Counsel and Corporation Counsel, who now must withdraw the case from the Supreme Court.

In the Hawaii Rules of Professional Conduct, adopted by the Hawaii Supreme Court and binding on all lawyers licensed to practice law in the State of Hawaii, Rule 1.2(a) states that “A lawyer shall abide by a client’s decision to settle the case “

The Maui County Council, through our actions, directs Corporation Counsel to implement our resolution and settle the case. As chair, I look forward to working with the administration on solutions to reviving the health of our oceans, reef and marine life, and I fully support the mayor’s commitment to treatment and reuse of wastewater.

KELLY T. KING, Maui County Councilwoman