HomeAsian AmericansHawaii Gov. Josh Green signs bill banning seabed mining

Hawaii Gov. Josh Green signs bill banning seabed mining

On July 8, Gov. Josh Green (D-Hawaii) signed into effect 16 bills, including one that would ban deep sea mining, according to the Office of the Governor.

At a press conference in Honolulu, Green presented four major bills, with state senators speaking on each one before yielding to a Q&A session from the media.

When asked about bill SB3364, which repeals the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s (HTA) exemption from oversight, Green said at a press conference that the HTA and state legislators “were not in a healthy space” after budget discussions yielded no progress.

The remaining three bills presented at the press conference dealt with environmental protection and related funding.

Bill HB2475 puts restrictions on marketing, advertising, and social media promotion of unlawful maritime activities. Bill HB2248 approved funding toward a beach management project in Oahu.

In a similar vein, bill SB2575 prohibits seabed mining in state-owned waters and does not allow for any related permits to be granted.

At the press conference, State Senator Lorraine Inouye called SB2575 a “very troublesome bill” and went on to describe the complexities of the issue. She named countries with contracts to mine in a certain plot of the Pacific Ocean — including China, Russia, Poland, Japan, India, France, Germany, and some Pacific island nations — which the U.S. never ratified, according to Inouye.

She also alleged that the pressure for these countries to mine in the deep sea is rooted in a push to promote electric vehicles.

Along with the climate protection efforts in the aforementioned bills, Green also spoke in favor of a “very small, very modest” climate impact fee — a cause he has advocated for in the past, according to Honolulu Civil Beat.

In an earlier pitch in February, Green suggested a climate impact fee of approximately $25 for visitors to the state, down from a previous suggestion of $40–50. The funds from the potential fee would be put towards disaster relief and insurance, Honolulu Civil Beat reported.

“Speaking through legislation is probably the most potent way for us to act,” Green said about his relationship with the federal government.

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