HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
THIRTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2021
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
RELATING TO SEA LEVEL RISE ADAPTATION.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. The legislature finds that climate change and sea level rise pose significant, dangerous, and imminent threats to the State's social and economic well-being, public safety, nature and environments, cultural resources, property, infrastructure, and government functions and will likely have a disproportionate impact on low-income and otherwise vulnerable communities. Chronic impacts of sea level rise, including coastal erosion, high tide flooding, and annual high wave flooding, are already impacting many low-lying coastal areas and are predicted to increase in extent and severity in the coming decades. Climate change and sea level rise will exacerbate the impacts of disaster events, such as hurricanes, extreme rainfall, high-wave events, and tsunamis.
The legislature further finds that a 2017 report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration projects that 3.2 feet of global mean sea level rise will occur by 2100 in an intermediate scenario and could occur as early as the 2060s in an extreme scenario.
The legislature notes that the Hawaii sea level rise vulnerability and adaptation report completed by the department of land and natural resources and accepted by the Hawaii climate change mitigation and adaptation commission, along with map data available via the Hawaii sea level rise viewer online mapping tool and the Hawaii statewide GIS program, provide a relevant assessment, based on the best available science, of the State's coastal areas' exposure to the chronic impacts of sea level rise. The state hazard mitigation plan provides expanded assessment of natural hazards and potential impacts of disaster events in recognition of climate change and sea level rise. Both documents provide current references; are consistent with sea level rise projections reported in the latest and best available science, including National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reporting; and serve as key references for the State in assessing vulnerabilities and developing actions to improve resilience to impacts of sea level rise and extreme climate events, and therefore can serve as useful tools for executive departments in preparing for sea level rise.
The purpose of this Act is to require the executive departments of the State to:
(1) Identify existing and planned facilities that are vulnerable to sea level rise, flooding impacts, and natural hazards;
(2) Assess a range of options for mitigation impacts of sea level rise to existing and planned facilities;
(4) Submit annual reports to the governor, legislature, and Hawaii climate change mitigation and adaptation commission regarding vulnerability and adaptation assessments for state facilities and progress in implementing sea level rise and disaster resiliency considerations.
SECTION 2. Chapter 27, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to part I be appropriately designated and to read as follows:
"§27- Sea level rise; responsibilities. (a) Each state department shall:
(1) Identify existing and planned facilities, including critical infrastructure, that are vulnerable to sea level rise, flooding impacts, and natural hazards, utilizing the latest projections and map data endorsed by the Hawaii climate change mitigation and adaptation commission and State of Hawaii hazard mitigation plan;
(2) Assess a range of options for mitigation impacts of sea level rise to existing and planned facilities, including flood‑proofing in‑place and relocation of facilities, especially in locations where conservation of beaches and coastal environments is desired; provided that the departments shall take sea level rise, flooding, and disaster resilience into account in their planning and investment decisions; identify and consider risk from climate change; and employ full life‑cycle cost accounting to evaluate and compare facilities investments and alternatives; provided further that the departments shall be guided by the following principles:
(A) Prioritize actions that build disaster resilience and climate adaptation;
(B) Take actions to protect the State's most vulnerable populations; and
(C) Prioritize nature‑based adaptation and resilience solutions.
In carrying out these functions, the departments shall coordinate resiliency actions with county and federal agencies, relevant communities, and the private sector.
(b) Each department shall establish staff level points of contact with relevant expertise to build internal capacity and work with Hawaii climate change mitigation and adaptation commission staff and the office of planning to improve interagency coordination for sea level rise adaptation, flooding, and resilience.
(c) Each department shall submit a report to the governor, legislature, office of planning, and Hawaii climate change mitigation and adaptation commission no later than twenty days prior to the convening of each regular session regarding its vulnerability and adaptation assessments for its facilities and progress made toward implementing sea level rise and disaster resiliency considerations in its plans, programs, and capital improvement decisions."
SECTION 3. Section 27-1, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
"§27-1 Functions of statewide concern. The purpose of the chapter is to fix responsibility for certain functions, which are of statewide concern, in the state government. These functions which are declared to be state functions are as follows:
(1) Planning, construction, improvement and maintenance of public school facilities and grounds and the transportation of school children; provided that nothing in this paragraph shall preclude the several counties from expending their own funds to supplement state funds;
(2) Burial of indigents;
(3) Planning, construction, improvement, maintenance, and operation of public hospitals and other public health and medical facilities;
(4) Rendering of medical treatment and hospitalization services to state and county pensioners;
(5) Administration and
operation of district courts; [
information and services to the public through joint cooperation with the
(7) Planning and implementing considerations, policies, and practices related to disaster resilience and climate adaptation, including sea level rise."
SECTION 4. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.
SECTION 5. This Act shall take effect on January 1, 2050.
State Responsibilities; Executive Departments; Climate Change; Sea Level Rise Adaptation
Requires each executive branch department to: identify existing and planned facilities that are vulnerable to sea level rise, flooding impacts, and natural hazards; assess options for mitigation impacts of sea level rise to existing and planned facilities; establish staff level points of contact to improve interagency coordination for sea level rise adaptation, flooding, and resilience; and submit annual reports to the governor, legislature, office of planning, and Hawaii climate change mitigation and adaptation commission. Effective 1/1/2050. (SD1)
The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.