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2022 Legislative Priorities

Focus Areas:
Clean Water & Coastal Preservation

In 2022, the Surfrider Foundation in Hawaii will focus on advocating for clean water and environmental protection. Learn more about how to testify and make your voice heard!

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Clean Water

Surfrider’s Clean Water Initiative strives to protect water quality in local waterways and reduce ocean pollution so it is safe to surf, swim, and play in the ocean.

Our priority, statewide bills for 2022 focus on four main goals:

1. Improve Testing & Public Notification at Hawaii Beaches (Region wide) - The Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH) runs a beach monitoring program and issues advisories when bacteria levels exceed the health standard. Our policy priorities for 2021 focus on improving water quality monitoring across the state, updating the tiering/prioritization of monitored beaches to be more equitable (and not concentrated in resort areas), and continuing regular beach monitoring schedule when Brown Water Alerts are issued.

2. Reduce the Impact of Cesspools on Coastal Waters (Region wide) - Hawaii’s 88,000 cesspools are one of the biggest threats to water quality across the state, discharging 53 million gallons per day of sewage into coastal waters. Along with a robust public education component, our policy priorities for 2021 and beyond focus on establishing a statewide cesspool and septic system registry and developing programs/incentives that encourage cesspool upgrades.

3. Support coastal preservation and policies that ensure long term protection of our sandy beaches. In particular, our efforts are focused on bills that limit emergency shoreline hardening permits and promote climate change/sea level rise considerations throughout state and county agencies.

4. Reduce single-use plastic consumer items and encourage holistic waste management laws, policies and actions.

Clean Water Bills We're Monitoring

  • SB2984: Improved HDOH Testing - requires HDOH to test during brown water advisories, post public signs at Tier 1 beaches during brown water advisories, and review beach tiering system.
  • HB1805 & SB2995: Cesspool Conversions -  Requires upgrades to cesspools at the time of sale and allows a tax credit for certain wastewater systems. 

Coastal Preservation Bills We're Monitoring

  • SB2519: Limits on Emergency Shoreline Hardening Permits - Requires an emergency shoreline hardening permit for the construction, maintenance, or improvement of a temporary erosion control structure. Permits are valid for a maximum of one year; provided that the lifetime of the structure may be extended no more than an additional two and a half years upon an applicant demonstrating a concerted effort to develop and implement a long-term solution which will enable the removal of the temporary erosion control structure.

Plastic Pollution Bills We're Monitoring

  • HB1645 - Bans hotels/lodging accommodations from providing personal care products (e.g. shampoo, conditioner, lotion, etc.) in single-use plastic bottles.
  • HB1643 - (did not pass) Requires restaurants to ask customers if they want disposable cutlery (e.g. forks, spoons, straws) or provide a self serve kiosk
  • HB1646 and SB2846 - (did not pass) Prohibit the sale or distribution of consumer goods that include recycling symbols but cannot actually be recycled in Hawaii.
  • HB1644 - Bans foodware service products containing PFAS (harmful chemicals)
  • HB2399 - Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) - Requires producers of fast-moving consumer goods to pay an annual fee based on the amount of packaging the producer manufactures.

General/Environmental Protection

  • SB2962: Green Constitutional Amendment - secure for all people the Constitutional recognition and protection of their inalienable rights to pure water, clean air, and healthy ecosystems including climate
  • SB3192: Statewide Visitor Green Fee - Establishes within the Department of Land and Natural Resources a visitor green fee program to collect a fee to allow visitors to visit a state park, beach, state-owned forest, hiking trail, or other state-owned natural area. Establishes the environmental legacy commission to allocate the revenues from the visitor green to protect and manage Hawaii's natural resources. 
  • SB1277 - Environmental Justice Mapping - Establishes a task force and advisory council to develop high-quality data relation to environmental justice concerns, identify environmental justice communities, and devise a method to correct for recist and unjust practices leading to historical and current environmental injustices.