The purpose of the Environmental Justice Committee is to foster a healthier environment and more active environmental community. The committee seeks to engage collaborative efforts between state health and environmental agencies, the federal government and nonprofit organizations to tackle the intersection of environmental, public health and social challenges.
The 2019 legislative priorities include (but are not necessarily limited to):
Championing Hawaiʻi’s critical transition to clean energy. YPDA advocates for a swift and unapologetic transition to renewable energy sources, without half measures or bridge fuels, and will support legislation that advances and accelerates this goal. With just 12 years remaining before our addiction to fossil fuels and other damaging energy sources causes irreparable harm to the global climate and our local environment, it is vital to our future here in the islands that policymakers take this seriously. Projects like the Hu Honua Biofuel plant on Hawaiʻi Island which purport to be clean energy projects while, in fact, substituting one damaging fuel source for another, are not the solution; neither are proposals to let continental corporations take over our electrical grid and shackle us to costly “bridge fuels” like Liquid Natural Gas, which are neither clean nor sustainable, and which require massive investments in infrastructure, only to be abandoned further down the road. YPDA would support efforts to institute a progressive tax on carbon, the brunt of which must be borne by corporations and the ultra-wealthy, not the working class.
Defending Hawaiʻi’s natural resources. YPDA will support legislation requiring the U.S. Navy to remove hazardous fuel tanks from above the main aquifer for urban Honolulu at Red Hill. These tanks, which have already leaked thousands of gallons of toxic jet fuel into the ground just 100 feet above this vital water source, pose an immense danger to the longevity of society on Oʻahu. But they are far from the only military installation in Hawaiʻi that threatens our resources. The military should be held responsible for the pollution and degradation it has caused in the furthering of unjust, imperialist objectives. YPDA will also support legislation requiring responsible shoreline retreat and planning for the inevitability of sea level rise, as well as legislation barring developers from building seawalls to protect luxury properties at the expense of Hawaiʻi’s beaches and forcing luxury property owners to sell endangered properties to the state at cost, not at profit.