H.B. NO.



H.D. 1
















     SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that climate change is the overarching challenge for the State.  The legislature has repeatedly taken actions, set goals, and created programs to reduce emissions in the energy and transportation sectors; establish statewide decarbonization goals; recognize a climate emergency; establish the state climate commission to facilitate interdisciplinary and cross-sector solutions; and understand and plan for the expected impacts of sea level rise and other threats to infrastructure posed by climate change impacts.  Even with this clear commitment from the legislature in taking climate action, the state offices tasked with natural resource protection continue to lack sufficient resources, even though natural resource protection is critical to the State's success in mitigating and adapting to climate change.

     Hawaii's native forests and coral reefs provide essential services that act as carbon sinks and help protect Hawaii's residents from climate change impacts.  For example, coral reefs protect shorelines and coastal infrastructure from storm surges and high wave impacts, providing a natural buffer to help prevent loss of life, property damage, and erosion.  Native forests are not only the lungs of the Hawaiian islands, absorbing carbon dioxide and emitting oxygen, they are also sponges that capture moisture and rainfall to recharge groundwater threatened by changing weather, more frequent drought conditions, and the loss of native forests.  Healthy forests also provide protection to the nearshore environment by reducing the impacts of stormwater runoff.  In addition, both reefs and forests provide habitats for native species, many of which are threatened and endangered.  Reefs and forests are also essential to Hawaii's culture, traditional practices, food systems, economy, and way of life.

     At the same time, these resources that protect the State from climate change are threatened by climate change impacts.  Hawaii's coral reef ecosystems are threatened by warming temperatures, which lead to ocean acidification and coral bleaching.  Coral bleaching events have already caused extensive damage to Hawaii's reefs and are predicted to become more frequent and severe.  Hawaii's forests are threatened by changing weather patterns, invasive species, and wildfires that have increased by four hundred per cent in the past decade.

     Invasive species affect both land and ocean resources and are defined as non-native species whose introduction causes environmental harm, economic harm, or harm to human health.  Invasive species pose the single greatest threat to the health of Hawaii's native ecosystems and the State's economy, affecting not only forests and reefs but also agriculture, food security, drinking water, freshwater quality, and human health.  Research shows that climate changes compound the impact of invasive species by contributing to invasive species' range expansion, increasing ecosystem stress, and worsening the decline of native species and the ability of forests and oceans to sequester carbon.  For example, with warming temperatures, mosquitos that carry diseases that kill native forest birds have moved into higher elevations.  Accelerated action and increased funding are needed to address invasive species.

     The legislature finds that with the passage of recent federal legislation, including the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (Pub. L. 117-58), Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (Pub. L. 117-169), and the Restoring Resilient Reefs Act of 2021 (enacted as part of the James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023) as well as the proposed Recovering America's Wildlife Act, there is a record amount of federal funding available to help with natural resource protection.  However, to best access, leverage, and maximize these federal funds, state agencies will need access to matching funds to draw in federal grants.

     Therefore, the purpose of this Act is to appropriate funds to address the impacts of climate change in the State.

     SECTION 2.  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 2023-2024 to protect, manage, and restore natural resources, including native forests, native plants and animals, aquatic resources, coastal lands, and freshwater resources.

     The sum appropriated shall be expended by the department of land and natural resources for the purposes of this Act.

     SECTION 3.  This Act shall take effect on June 30, 3000.




Report Title:

Natural Resources; Climate Change; Appropriation



Appropriates funds to the department of land and natural resources to address the impacts of climate change in the State.  Effective 6/30/3000.  (HD1)




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