Legislature Passes Energy And Environment Bills

State Sen. Mike Gabbard

By State Sen. Mike Gabbard

Aloha Friends,

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers of District 19 who have made so many sacrifices for their families. Here are a few things I’d like to share with you.

Key Energy and Environment Bills Pass the Legislature

This was my fourth session as Chairman of the Senate Energy and Environment Committee. Here is a quick rundown of some of the key bills we passed this session:

* SB 2785 – sets up a regulatory framework for an interisland undersea cable to be constructed in order to allow electricity to be sent from one island to another. This would ensure that, if a cable is built, it would be treated as a cable utility regulated by the Public Utilities Commission.

* SB 2746 – modifies existing state benefits for electric vehicle owners by making it so they have free metered parking for up to 2.5 hours and can use the HOV lanes regardless of the number of passengers through 2020.

* SB 2281 – allows applicants or agencies to bypass an environmental assessment (EA) and proceed directly to an environmental impact assessment (EIS) if the proposed project is likely to require an EIS anyway. This will save developers time and money without compromising environmental protections.

* SB 2001 – amends the state Planning Act to promote the development of indigenous renewable energy resources, such as geothermal, which is located on public trust land, as an affordable and reliable source of firm power for Hawaii.

Construction Funding for Our Communities

Senate District 19 was awarded $59,979,000 in construction funding in the fiscal year 2013 supplemental budget. Here are several of those specific projects:

* Kalaeloa East Energy Corridor – $3.5 million

* Kalaeloa Harbor Improvements – $25,150,000

* Kalei’opu’u Elementary (secondary ramp for campus evacuation) – $625,000

* Kualaka’i Parkway (Kapolei Parkway to Roosevelt) – $15 million

* Royal Kunia Elementary School (plans for a new elementary school) – $150,000

* UH West Oahu (planning and design for creative media facility) – $900,000

* Waikele Elementary (expansion of cafeteria to include a performing arts stage) – $794,000

District 19 Residents Offer to Serve

Congratulations to the following District 19 residents who were nominated by the governor and confirmed by the Senate to serve on state boards and commissions. All of them deserve praise for lending their talents.

* Shirley Swinney (Kapolei) – Hawaii Com-munity Development Authority

* Rey Graulty (Makakilo) – Hawaii Health Authority

* Beverly Lee (Village Park) – King Kamehameha Celebration Commission

* Loraine Fleming (Makakilo) – Board of Nursing

* Dave Rae (Makakilo) – Hawaii Tourism Authority Board of Directors

* Robert Martin (Waikele) – Hawaii Workforce Development Council

“Listen Story” Meeting

My next “Listen Story” meeting will be from 9 to 10 a.m. Saturday, June 16, at the Kapolei Starbucks (next to the Chevron Station).