2017 Hawai`i State Legislature Fails on Clean Energy Advancement

As the 29th session of the legislature draws to a close, the fifty-eighth Senate day of the sixty-day session ended with votes where no one could explain what happened. The irony of these votes reveal the underbelly of the legislature, which could explain why there are so few community people who come to testify anymore.

All conference committees had to finish their meetings by 6 p.m. In past years, the halls of the Capitol were packed as the final minutes wound down. But few people show up for the final showdown this year, and by 6 p.m., the halls were virtually deserted. Read more

Trump Administration declares war on climate science realities with key federal agencies cuts: EPA, NOAA, and NASA

Trump Administration has proposed funding cuts for fiscal 2018 targeting overall environmental protection responsibilities of more than a dozen federal agencies.

Cuts include marine sciences and sharp reductions and elimination of climate-ocean science specific research and reporting within NASA and NOAA impacting grants and research currently benefiting Hawai’i. 

The Trump administration has targeted environmental protections across the board with EPA a top target in their cross-hairs, and climate change research set for elimination. And while the cuts are essentially an opening salvo in what promises to be a fight with Congress once the budget requests formally arrive, they also demonstrate the level of hostility many scientists feared their work would face from a new Administration loaded with cabinet and agency level managers filled with fossil-fuel interests and climate change deniers. Read more

Hawaii County Doctor Shortage Worsens

More than half of the doctors in Hawaii will reach the retirement age of 65 within the next decade, according to a new report submitted Thursday to the state Legislature.

The University of Hawaii Physicians Workforce Assessment says of the 8,900 physicians licensed to practice in Hawaii, roughly 2,903 full-time physicians are actually practicing medicine. The report emphasizes that supply of new physicians is not keeping up with demand and Hawaii is at a critical juncture.

“Demand grows by 50 … per year, and we lose 50 physicians per year, so we need 100 per year to maintain the current staffing levels,” the report concludes. Read more

Here is where Trump’s cabinet nominees stand on climate change

Environmental Protection Agency: Scott Pruitt

The Oklahoma attorney general has been a longtime adversary of the EPA and a close friend to the fossil fuels industry. He helped lead a lawsuit from 28 states against the agency’s clean power plan, an Obama administration initiative to cut carbon pollution from coal power plants. Read more

HELCO`s Proposed 6.5% Rate Hike – Tell the PUC What You Think!

The Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is coming to Hilo on December 13 and Kona on Wednesday, December 14.

The PUC wants to know if Big Island residents are happy with the amount they are spending on their electric bills, and whether residents are willing to pay 6.5 percent more and continue to subsidize HELCO’s expensive dirty energy path.

Those who think the utility is doing a great job, a reasonable job, or a poor job, have the opportunity to let the regulators know.

With the exception of any entity that intervenes in the proceeding, this will be the LAST opportunity for the public to influence the outcome of this rate hike proposal. Read more

Pacific Islands nations to Trump: ‘save us’ from global warming

Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama has message for the world: climate change is not a hoax, as US President-elect Donald Trump has claimed. The next head of the UN global climate talks has appealed for the US to “save” Pacific islands from the impacts of global warming.

Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said that the islands needed the US now as much as they did during World War Two.

Mr Trump has promised to pull the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement and scrap all payments for UN global warming projects.

But as he accepted the role of president of the Conference of the Parties for the year ahead, the Fijian leader took the opportunity to call on to the next US president to step away from his scepticism. Read more

Candidates for the office of Mayor

On June 22nd, 2016 the West Hawai’i Forum series presented a 13 candidate face off for the job of Mayor of Hawai’i County.  The two hour forum crowded into the exchange of candidate positions County problems ranging from homelessness to taxes. The forum proved to yield an informative exchange of candidate views and visions for the County. Some candidate insights and ideas on the future direction for Community government were inventive, but most candidate plans to fix problems were similar in nature and vision.  The one comment that came back to later haunt then candidate Kim was his pledge to NOT to raise taxes, if elected.  A pledge he repeated several times during the forum.

Less than two months later (August 13th) the 2016 primary election was held. As important as the chief executive job for Hawai’i County is, a record low voter turn out in the primary and for the race of Hawai’i County mayor produced a winner without a mandate.   In a crowded field of 13 mayoral candidates, now Mayor Harry Kim won with 51% margin over his nearest rival, but with less than 15% of the County’s registered voters placing their ballot check mark next to Kim’s name. Hawaii’s election rules ensured Kim’s primary win was final.

 

Read more