HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
THIRTIETH LEGISLATURE, 2019
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
RELATING TO ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. The legislature finds and acknowledges that plastics have become a significant threat to Hawaii's environment, ecosystems, and beaches, on which the State's economy, culture, and native species rely.
Plastic litter and debris can be increasingly found on every island and in every watershed and protected area from the remote Kalalau Valley on Kauai to Kilauea Caldera on Hawaii island. Hawaii's forests, streams, and beaches are strewn with plastic debris, including micro plastic debris smaller than grains of sand which are consumed by animals from the smallest of endangered birds to the humpback whale. Worldwide, eighty-two out of one hundred forty-four examined bird species had plastic debris in their stomachs. Sixty-six per cent of giant petrel shorebirds have been found to regurgitate plastic when feeding their chicks. More than half of dead sea turtles have been found to have ingested plastic. A university of Hawaii study found that in Hawaii, "58 percent of the small-eye opah and 43 percent of the big-eye opah had ingested some kind of debris," contributing to population reduction and reduced commercial catch.
Additionally, the Washington Post reported that an estimated five million to thirteen million tons of plastic debris enter the oceans every year, which has contributed to creating the Pacific garbage patch, a mass of plastic debris larger than the state of Texas floating in the Pacific Ocean north of Hawaii. If nothing changes, it is estimated that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the Pacific Ocean, by weight, than fish.
The legislature further finds that cleaning up plastic is a significant cost to Hawaii taxpayers. The cost of increasing cleanups by government agencies, businesses, and the general public is rising to account for expensive best management practices and mitigation. A study of more than ninety counties in California concluded that taxpayers are paying $428,000,000 per year to clean up plastic through storm drain management, street sweeping, and marine cleanups. San Diego county, which has a population of 1,300,000, equivalent to Hawaii, must now spend $14,000,000 annually cleaning up plastic. The department of transportation has already produced a trash management plan that shows that styrofoam and plastic bags are the top two contributors to the waste stream and must be regularly removed from storm drains at a cost to the department.
The legislature additionally finds that there is opportunity to both reduce costs to taxpayers and protect Hawaii's environment from plastic inundation. Hawaii residents now generate 2.8 tons of waste per person per year, more waste per capita than the residents of any other state. More than eighty per cent of the plastic entering the Pacific Ocean comes from land-based litter and pollution, which can be prevented. Globally, ninety-five per cent of plastic packaging is discarded after a single use, at a cost of $80,000,000,000 to $120,000,000,000. Minimizing packaging and utilizing alternatives derived from compostable materials, which are now widely available, can benefit our economy as it shifts toward a system of responsible reuse, a foundational principle of native Hawaiian culture.
The purpose of this Act is to establish a long-term plan to eliminate plastic pollution in Hawaii's environment and to reduce taxpayers' cleanup costs by establishing an advisory council to collect data, identify next steps, and provide recommendations.
SECTION 2. The Hawaii Revised Statutes is amended by adding a new chapter to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:
PLASTIC POLLUTION INITIATIVE
§ -1 Definitions As used in this chapter:
"Department" means the department of land and natural resources.
"Program" means the plastic pollution initiative program.
§ -2 Plastic pollution initiative program. There is established within the department a plastic pollution initiative program with the mission of eliminating plastic waste that impacts native species and pollutes the State's environment. The program shall include a plastic pollution advisory council, which shall:
(1) Consist of the following members, who shall serve without compensation but shall be reimbursed for reasonable expenses, including travel expenses, incurred during the performance of their duties:
(A) The chairperson of the board of land and natural resources or the chairperson's designee, who shall serve as the chair of the council;
(B) The director of health or the director's designee;
(C) The chairs of the standing committees of the legislature with subject matter jurisdiction over the environment;
(D) One representative from each of the four counties, to be selected by each county mayor;
(E) One representative from each of four community organizations that focus on preventing plastic waste and cleaning up plastic in the environment, to be selected by the chair of the council;
(F) A representative from the Hawaii tourism authority; and
(G) A representative of the restaurant or grocery industry;
(2) Be subject to section 26-34;
(3) Perform any relevant analysis and develop appropriate plans or recommendations for the legislature, the counties, and other stakeholders;
(4) Obtain from other state departments and county agencies all relevant data on plastic pollution and any associated cleanup costs as they relate to the mission of the program;
(5) Assist with coordination between the department and other government agencies with the general public on the mission of the program; and
(6) Report to the legislature no later than twenty days prior to the convening of each regular session on its progress and any findings and recommendations to eliminate the plastic polluting Hawaii's environment."
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 2019-2020 and the same sum or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2020-2021 for the purposes of:
(1) Establishing the plastic pollution initiative program; and
(2) Conducting an initial analysis of the baseline cost of plastic pollution to Hawaii's taxpayers and environment.
The sums appropriated shall be expended by the department of land and natural resources for the purposes of this Act.
SECTION 4. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2100.
Plastic Pollution Initiative; Advisory Council; Appropriation
Establishes the Plastic Pollution Initiative Program to eliminate plastic waste polluting the State's environment. Establishes the Plastic Pollution Advisory Council to collect data on plastic pollution and associated cleanup costs. Appropriates funds. (HB717 HD1)
The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.