HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
TWENTY-NINTH LEGISLATURE, 2018
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
RELATING TO THE ENVIRONMENT.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. The legislature finds that the State's natural environment and ecosystems are in a fragile state due to the amount of greenhouse gases released through human activities and the resulting impact on global climate change. The legislature also finds that the State should support programs that incentivize state agencies, private entities, and individuals to adopt practices that are more environmentally friendly and that result in reduced carbon emissions into the environment. The legislature notes that one mechanism that has gained success in Europe after adoption of the Kyoto Protocol is the transferring and selling of carbon offset credits. California and numerous other states and private industries have established these types of credits for purchase by polluters to offset their carbon emissions. Billions of dollars have been raised by California alone, and many industries are seeking new places to invest these dollars to offset their carbon emissions.
The legislature further finds that it is necessary to invest state funds to improve the State's water infrastructure and ensure future water sustainability in the face of ongoing climate change. More specifically, the State must be prepared to provide more resources and support for those affected by disaster-scale flooding, coastal seawater inundation, and shortages of potable water and agricultural water. The legislature anticipates that the revenues raised by a state carbon offset program will greatly enhance current water sustainability efforts.
Accordingly, the legislature finds that it is in the public interest to create a carbon offset program in the State that would incentivize and reward the adoption of, practice of, and adherence to carbon emission reduction activities, consistent with the Hawaii 2050 sustainability plan.
The purpose of this Act is to establish a carbon offset program under the department of business, economic development, and tourism, in partnership with the department of land and natural resources, through which revenues realized from the sale of carbon offset credits may be deposited into the forest stewardship fund or invested into projects that improve the State's water infrastructure or mitigate threats to water sustainability due to climate change.
SECTION 2. Chapter 201, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to part I to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:
"§201- Carbon offset program. (a) In partnership with the department of land and natural resources, the department shall establish a carbon offset program that:
(1) Provides expertise in carbon offsetting to public agencies and private entities and assists in coordinating carbon offset projects of public agencies, including but not limited to the generation, certification, and marketing of carbon credits;
(2) Allows for proceeds and revenues generated by the department of land and natural resources from sales of forest carbon offset credits to be deposited into the forest stewardship fund pursuant to section 195F-4; provided that the funds are used in accordance with the purposes of the fund;
(3) Allows for proceeds and revenues generated by state agencies from sales of carbon credits other than as described in paragraph (2) to be invested in projects enhancing the State's efforts to mitigate climate change, improving the State's water infrastructure, or mitigating threats to water sustainability due to climate change, including but not limited to:
(A) Flood prevention and preparedness;
(B) Mitigation of sea level rise;
(C) Increasing potable water supplies;
(D) Increasing agricultural water supplies; and
(E) Watershed restoration or protection;
(4) Provides environmental, social, cultural, or economic benefits, including but not limited to the improvement of the State's water infrastructure or mitigation of threats to water sustainability due to climate change; and
(5) Is consistent with the State's sustainability goals and policies.
(b) The department, in partnership with the department of land and natural resources, shall adopt rules, pursuant to chapter 91, necessary to carry out the purposes of this section.
(c) As used in this section:
"Carbon credit" means a tradable certificate or permit issued by a carbon registry that represents a greenhouse gas reduction or greenhouse gas removal enhancement that is equivalent to one metric ton of carbon dioxide and meets the requirements of the carbon offset program.
"Carbon offset" means a compensatory measure made by an agency, business, or individual to reduce carbon dioxide emissions or to increase carbon dioxide sequestration.
"Carbon registry" means any established international, national, or regional carbon registry program that serves voluntary or compliance markets, provides an independent carbon standard to verify and certify carbon offsets, and issues carbon credits.
"Forest carbon offset" means a compensatory measure made by an agency, business, or individual to increase carbon dioxide sequestration through the withdrawal from the atmosphere and storage of carbon dioxide in biomass within forest areas.
"Public agency" means a unit of state, city, or county government.
"State agency" means a unit of state government, such as a department, division, branch, agency, program, or office, and includes the legislature, judiciary, and office of Hawaiian affairs."
SECTION 3. There is appropriated out of the general revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $ or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2018-2019 to implement the credit offset program.
The sum appropriated shall be expended by the department of business, economic development, and tourism for the purposes of this Act.
SECTION 4. New statutory material is underscored.
SECTION 5. This Act shall take effect on January 28, 2045.
DBEDT; DLNR; Carbon Offset Program; Water Infrastructure; Climate Change; Appropriation
Establishes a carbon offset program under the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism, in partnership with the Department of Land and Natural Resources. Allows the proceeds and revenue generated from forest carbon offset credits to be deposited into the forest stewardship fund, and non-forest carbon credits to be invested in projects enhancing the State's efforts to mitigate climate change, improving the State's water infrastructure, or mitigating threats to water sustainability efforts due to climate change. Appropriates funds to implement the carbon offset program. Effective 1/28/2045. (SD2)
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