Bill Text: HI HB1439 | 2022 | Regular Session | Introduced

Bill Title: Relating To Environmental Protection.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced - Dead) 2022-01-26 - Referred to EEP/LAT, CPC, FIN, referral sheet 1 [HB1439 Detail]

Download: Hawaii-2022-HB1439-Introduced.html


H.B. NO.














relating to environmental protection.





     SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that each year, Hawaii's reefs, oceans, beaches, and forests provide billions of dollars in value to the economy, supporting the wellbeing of our resident community and visitors alike.  These ecosystems are vital to the State's visitor industry and the resident community's cultural identity.

     The legislature also finds that the State's vital ecosystems and the resources they harbor continue to decline, due to the lack of adequate investment in proven and effective conservation approaches and rising pressures of climate change.  Data demonstrates growing concern that tourism's positive contribution to the economy may not outweigh the impact that visitors have on the environment.  In 2019, ten million visitors enjoyed the benefits of Hawaii's ecosystems and natural environment.  The increased demand on our natural resources requires the creation of innovative conservation financing mechanisms focused on reversing the decline in our ecosystems and the associated risks for our visitor industry and resident community.

     The legislature further finds that the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic provides the State with an opportunity to build back the tourism sector more sustainably.  A visitor green fee could provide sustainable and comprehensive funding for green job growth beyond initial federal stimulus relief.  As the frequency of natural disasters and exogenous shocks increase, the legislature finds that diversification and green job growth is invaluable to Hawaii's economic stability, ability to withstand shocks, and reverse brain drain.

     The legislature recognizes that innovative financing mechanisms, such as green fees, are trending around the globe as triple bottom-line solutions to better manage visitor impacts on ecosystems and natural resources.  Green fees vary from $1 per night to a $100 set entrance fee and may be referred to as eco‑taxes; tourist taxes; green taxes; and environmental, conservation, and tourism levies.  In general, green fees require mandatory payments made by visitors to government or public-private entities for the explicit purpose of supporting conservation and natural resource management.  Green fees are typically bundled with a robust conservation fund and associated management system, along with visitor education and engagement strategies, as part of a jurisdiction's conservation strategy.

     The legislature also finds that these green fees will provide various economic benefits to the State.  Other jurisdictions have found that green stimulus yields a higher economic multiplier effect.  Similarly, studies show impressive returns on conservation investment; for example, The Nature Conservancy's efforts at the Waikamoi preserve will generate a forty-six per cent return on investment over the one‑hundred‑year planning period, with a net present value of $19,100,000. Green fees will provide environmental benefits through the funded conservation efforts, including the prevention of four thousand three hundred tons per year of sediment from washing into the ocean and the recharge of 32.5 billion gallons over the next one hundred years.  In addition to watershed conservation, other environmental benefits could include fire road installation, dune restoration, integrated marine monitoring, coral reef restoration, and recreation and trail maintenance.

These environmental benefits advance the natural resource management targets established as part of the Aloha+ Challenge, which is the government, business, and community partnership committing to community-based goals across six priority areas:  clean energy transportation; local agriculture; natural resource management; solid waste reduction; green workforce and education; and smart sustainable communities.  The goals set under the Aloha+ Challenge and other environmental initiatives, such as the Hawaii climate change mitigation and adaptation initiative, enacted as chapter 225P, Hawaii Revised Statutes, will be advanced by the implementation of a pilot visitor green fee program that will fund a conservation workforce and under the guidance of an advisory committee to ensure fair implementation.

     The purpose of this Act is to:

     (1)  Establish the conservation workforce special fund with the explicit commitment of funding a conservation workforce and advancing the Aloha+ Challenge Natural Resource Management Targets;

     (2)  Form a public-private advisory committee focused on designing the management and governance structure and funding criteria that safeguards the special fund's fidelity towards conservation; and

     (3)  Establish a ten-year pilot visitor green fee to go into effect July 1, 2022.

     SECTION 2.  Chapter 171, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding two new sections to part I to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

     "§171-A  Conservation workforce special fund.  (a)  There is established in the state treasury the conservation workforce special fund into which shall be deposited:

     (1)  All revenues under section 237D-   ;

     (2)  Appropriations made by the legislature to the special fund; and

     (3)  Grants and gifts made to the special fund.

     (b)  Funds in the special may be expended by the department for workforce programs and services with the explicit aim of meeting the goals of the Aloha+ Challenge natural resource management targets and the International Union for Conservation of Nature's 30 by 30 goals of:

     (1)  Increasing freshwater capacity by one hundred million gallons per day in comparison to the January 1, 2016, baseline;

     (2)  Having thirty per cent of Hawaii's marine waters under active management by 2030;

     (3)  Implementing the biosecurity plan to address priority invasive species by 2030; and

     (4)  Increasing the percentage of threatened and endangered native species managed in Hawaii by 2030.

Funds may also support the maintenance or restoration of beaches, parks, and trails.

     §171-B  Conservation advisory committee.  (a)  The department and the office of planning and sustainable development, in consultation with the department of budget and finance and Hawaii tourism authority, shall convene an advisory committee within the department.  The advisory committee shall consist of three or more odd number members who shall comprise conservationists, tourism industry leaders, and youth advisors.  The department shall have the authority to appoint members to the advisory committee and to fill any vacancies.  The members shall serve on a volunteer basis.

     (b)  The advisory committee shall develop a funding criteria and transparency and governance framework to ensure that management of the conservation workforce special fund established pursuant to section 171-A safeguards the fidelity of the special fund towards natural resource management and conservation job growth."

     SECTION 3.  Chapter 237D, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding two new sections to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

     "§237D-A  Green fee surcharge.  (a)  In addition to the taxes imposed pursuant to section 237D-2, beginning on July 1, 2022, and thereafter; there is levied and shall be assessed and collected a green fee surcharge of $20 per night on the lodging accommodations facility of each individual in temporary residence at that facility for as many nights as that individual is in residence at that facility; provided that a transient accommodations broker, travel agency, and tour packager who arranges transient accommodations at noncommissioned negotiated contract rates and every operator shall not pay the surcharge on the same guest more than once in any three hundred and sixty‑five day period and, in those cases, shall not charge the guest for the amount of the surcharge.

     (b)  The amount of the fee shall be reviewed annually by the department and adjusted to balance revenue generated, the effect on the visitor industry, public sentiment, and environmental impact; provided that the fee shall be raised or lowered by not less than $5 and by not more than $10 annually to achieve the desired balance.  The department shall also consider the report submitted pursuant to section 237D-B(a) to determine whether to raise or lower the fee.

     (c)  No later than July 1 of each year, the department shall announce the new amount of the fee and the new amount of the fee shall take effect the following January 1.

     (d)  Notwithstanding sections 237D-2(e) and 237D-6.5, the revenues collected pursuant to this section shall be deposited quarterly into the conservation workforce special fund established pursuant to section 171-A.

     §237D-B  Climate commission; duties.  (a)  There is established the climate commission.  The climate commission shall submit an annual report to the legislature and the department no later than twenty days prior to the convening of each regular session of the legislature.  The annual report shall include a determination of the desirable number of annual visitors to Hawaii and supporting analysis of that number.

     (b)  The climate commission shall comprise the:

     (1)  Chairperson of the board of land and natural resources, who shall serve as the chairperson of the climate commission;

     (2)  Adjutant general;

     (3)  Chairperson of the board of education;

     (4)  Chairperson of the Hawaiian homes commission;

     (5)  Director of agriculture;

     (6)  Director of business, economic development, and tourism;

     (7)  Director of health,

     (8)  Director of transportation;

     (9)  Chief executive officer of the office of Hawaiian affairs;

    (10)  President and chief executive officer of the Hawaii tourism authority;

    (11)  Director of the office of planning and sustainable development;

    (12)  Manager of the coastal zone management program;

    (13)  Director of the city and county of Honolulu department of planning and permitting;

    (14)  Director of the county of Maui planning department;

    (15)  Director of the county of Hawaii planning department;

    (16)  Director of the county of Kauai planning department;

    (17)  Chairperson of the senate standing committee having primary jurisdiction over environmental issues;

    (18)  Chairperson of the senate standing committee having primary jurisdiction over land issues;

    (19)  Chairperson of the house of representatives standing committee having primary jurisdiction over the environmental issues; and

    (20)  Chairperson of the house of representatives standing committee having primary jurisdiction over land issues.

     (c)  The climate commission shall meet at times and places as specified by a call of the chairperson or a majority of the commission; provided that the commission shall meet not less than once per calendar year.  The commission may prescribe rules for its own management and governance.  A majority of the members of the commission shall constitute a quorum and a quorum may exercise all the power and authority conferred on the commission."

     SECTION 4.  In codifying the new sections added by sections 2 and 3 of this Act, the revisor of statutes shall substitute appropriate section numbers for the letters used in designating the new sections in this Act.

     SECTION 5.  New statutory material is underscored.

     SECTION 6.  This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2022; provided that this Act shall be repealed on June 30, 2032.





By Request



Report Title:

Maui County Council Package; Environmental Protection; Green Fees; Conservation; Workforce; Services; Transient Accommodations



Establishes a green fee surcharge on transient accommodations for the purposes of funding workforce and services that promote certain environmental goals.  Repeals on June 30, 2032.




The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.