Some Issues At Hand For ‘10
By Mike Gabbard
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Happy New Year! I hope you and your family are well. The 2010 Legislative Session begins on Jan.20.Here’s a look at a few topics on the agenda for this new year.
Environment Committees to Focus on Environmental Review Law
Rep.Hermina Morita,chairwoman of the House Energy and Environmental Protection Committee,and I will co-chair an informational briefing at 1 p.m. Jan. 15 in Room 225 at the state Capitol to hear the results of a comprehensive two-year study by UH Manoa researchers on Chapter 343, the state’s environmental review law. The study is intended to provide us with recommendations on what changes in law are needed to better protect our environment and to give better guidance to developers and government agencies on when an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement should be conducted.
Wear Blue for Oceans Day
I’m co-sponsoring the “Wear Blue for Oceans Day” at the Capitol today (Jan. 13). The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the fourth floor,and will give environmental groups and government agencies a chance to set up booths and share information on the importance of protecting our oceans.
One of the main purposes of the event is to bring attention to President Obama’s efforts to create the first-ever national policy for our oceans, coasts and the Great Lakes.We need a national policy to bring clarity and better coordination among the 20 different federal agencies that now work in the area of ocean resource management. For more information, please contact my office or check out this Web site: http://www.wearblueforoceans.org.
Climate Change Task Force Should Convene
I joined with Robert Harris, the director of the Sierra Club-Hawaii Chapter, and Mark Fox, director of government affairs for The Nature Conservancy, at a news conference last month. Our goal was to bring attention to Gov. Lingle’s decision to not fund the Climate Change Task Force. The fact that the Legislature passed SB 266 last session and then overrode the governor’s veto in order for it to become law (Act 20) indicates our interest in this issue.
Act 20 established the Climate Change Task Force within the Office of Planning. The task force has been directed to investigate the potential impacts and costs of global warming trends and ocean-level rising on our state. In addition, the task force is supposed to develop recommendations for addressing or mitigating the near- and long-term effects of global warming.
Our state’s budget crisis poses many serious challenges, but there are federal and private dollars available to states that are leaders on this issue. The task force first has to meet to get the ball rolling.
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