Energy Bills Introduced At Legislative Session

State Sen. Mike Gabbard

Aloha Friends,

The session is in full swing at the Legislature. Here are a few things I’d like to share with you.

Energy and Environment Committee Ready for the Session

I just started my fifth legislative session as the Senate’s energy and environment chairman. Newly elected Hawaii Island Sen. Russell Ruderman will serve as my vice chairman.


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State Sen. Mike Gabbard

These are a few of the bills I introduced dealing with energy and environment issues that are noteworthy:

* SB 11, SB 12, and SB 623. These bills came out of a renewable energy tax credit working group that I put together last fall. The goal of the bills is to make sure the tax credit for solar photovoltaic (PV) isn’t having too big an impact on the state’s pocketbook, but at the same time not crippling the solar industry or making it too expensive for homes and businesses to install PV.

* SB 15. This bill expands the current 10 percent ethanol in gasoline mandate to include 10 percent bio-fuels to provide a market when the production of renewable gasoline becomes commercially viable in the state.

* SB 19. This allows landlords to sell electricity generated from renewable energy systems on their property to the tenants or lessees on that property or adjoining property, provided the rate schedule is established for the duration of the lease and agreed to by the tenant or lessee.

* SB 615. This requires all genetically engineered whole foods (fruits and vegetables) intended for human consumption that are sold, offered for sale, or distributed in the state be labeled.

Honoring Dr. Vandana Shiva

I presented a certificate from the Senate to environmental hero and seed freedom warrior, Dr. Vandana Shiva, during her presentation Jan. 16 at the Kroc Center in Kapolei. Shiva was in Hawaii to share her extensive knowledge about seed and food freedom because our Islands are currently the world’s most significant center of biotechnology seed experiments.

Shiva was born in 1952 in India. Although she intended to be a scientist, she found herself questioning the interconnectedness of nuclear physics, the environment and living things. Shiva has authored many books that have been instrumental in shedding light on crucial issues, such as The Violence of the Green Revolution, Water Wars and Stolen Harvest.

She is a founding board member of many organizations, such as the International Forum on Globalization and Diverse Women for Diversity. She received the Right Livelihood Award in 1993 and the 2010 Sydney Peace Prize. In 1991, Dr. Shiva founded Navdanya, a women-centered movement of seed keepers and organic growers across 17 states in India.

Navdanya has been instrumental in setting up more than 100 community seed banks and training 5 million farmers in sustainable practices. Shiva and Navdanya volunteers are committed to raising awareness about the hazards of genetic engineering, biopiracy, and our declining food rights in the face of globalization and climate change.

“Listen Story” Meeting

My next meeting will be at 9 a.m. Feb. 23 at the Kapolei Starbucks (next to the Chevron Station).

Please contact me at 586-6830 or if I can help you in any way.