The Maui News
Creating green fees to help fund protection of natural resources and reestablishing the cesspool conversion tax credit are among the proposals in the Environmental Legislative Caucus’ 2023 bill package.
The caucus is a coalition of state legislators that works with nongovernmental organizations and governmental agencies on topics including climate change, energy and conservation, according to a news release from the caucus on Tuesday.
This year’s package includes:
• House Bill 442 and Senate Bill 636, to establish green fees to collect from nonresidents to fund the protection and management of Hawaii’s natural resources.
• HB 441 and SB 657, to fund an assessment of social vulnerability to climate change to better understand vulnerable populations to ensure that equity considerations are integrated into policy.
• HB 440 and SB 947, to reestablish the cesspool conversion tax credit and require that home transactions disclose if the property has a cesspool to convert and the date by which it is mandated to be converted so that buyers are informed. Hawaii has more than 80,000 cesspools that release more than 50 million gallons of raw sewage into the state’s groundwater and surface waters every day, according to the caucus.
• HB 443 and SB 660, to establish a Healthy Soils Program to promote agricultural practices that improve soil health, sequester more carbon, increase water infiltration and improve water and pollinator habitats while harvesting better profits and often better yields.
• HB 444 and SB 635, to propose a constitutional amendment that ensures and protects the fundamental right of the people, including future generations, to clean water and air, a healthful environment and climate, healthy native ecosystems and beaches.
Members of the public can track these measures and view hearings at www.capitol.hawaii.gov/home.aspx.
Hawaii island Rep. Nicole Lowen and Oahu Sen. Mike Gabbard are the co-chairpersons of the caucus.