Apr 18

Greenhouse Gas Rules Public Hearings

Posted on in Energy News

Cutting emissions 25% per facility in the next 8 years after probably a century of steady growth? Yeah, that's huge. That's our take on the state's proposed greenhouse gas rules, which will reduce emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 by targeting Hawaii's biggest polluters. If you can make it to one of the public hearings to voice your support, absolutely do so.

Hawaii’s GHG Rules Update

This November marks an important time for Hawaii’s clean air and energy standards. Just this month, the Governor’s office approved a request to notify the public about the proposed greenhouse gas (GHG) rules that have been in motion since 2007. In the next month, four public hearing meetings for the GHG rules are scheduled throughout the islands. 

The public hearings are an opportunity to learn more about the proposed GHG rules, to hear commentary from interested parties, and even contribute to the dialogue and decision making. The Department of Health is also accepting any written comments and recommendations via mail or hand delivery to:

Hawaii State Department of Health, Clean Air Branch
919 Ala Moana Boulevard, Room 203,
Honolulu, HI, 96814


The comment period ends on January 14, 2013. You can view Blue Planet Foundation's comments here.

To view the official proposed GHG rules, the Department of Health website may be accessed at http://hawaii.gov/health/environmental/air/cab/index.html. The RISE Program and interns have been supporting the GHG rule-making process since January 2011, and the following is our interpretation of the publicly available materials relating to the proposed rules.



The schedule is as follows:



Tuesday, November 20, 2012, 5pm

Waiakea High School, Hilo, Big Island

Wednesday, November 28, 2012, 2pm

919 Ala Moana Boulevard

(AAFES Building), Honolulu, Oahu

Thursday, November 29, 2012, 5pm

Wilcox Elementary School, Lihue, Kauai

Friday, November 30, 2012, 6pm

Pomaikai Elementary School, Kahului, Maui



Background to Hawaii’s Proposed Rules:

Hawaii’s proposed GHG rules are a direct result of Act 234, Hawaii’s Global Warming Solution Law, signed in 2007 by Governor Linda Lingle. The Act seeks to reduce Hawaii’s GHG emission levels to that of 1990 levels by January 1, 2020. Since the signing of the Act, the Department of Health Clean Air Branch has been under fire to implement rules that will have a large effect on Hawaii’s electricity generation (see this 8/18/11 Civil Beat article for background on the delays).  The proposed GHG rules will aid in achieving this goal by setting a statewide GHG emissions limit that identifies and requires emissions reductions from the State’s largest GHG emitters. The proposed rules may incur costly effects on major GHG sources, including energy producers and landfills, as they seek to modify their operations in order to reduce their overall emission levels. However, the benefits of these GHG rules includes reducing the state’s dependence on imported fossil fuels; reducing the State’s emissions and contribution to global climate change; and supporting the goals of the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative.  

Hawaii from a National Perspective of GHG Rules:

Eighteen states have now passed mandatory GHG reporting measures, as illustrated in the map (Source: Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, July 5, 2012). The following outlines the major ways in which state rules may differ, and a short summary of Hawaii’s proposed rules:

1.     The sectors required to report – GHG is emitted from sources of all sizes, so each State’s legislating body needs to define sources to require reporting from at an achievable and manageable scale.  The State of Hawaii’s draft rules targets existing electric power producers, refineries, and landfills, while excluding Municipal Solid Waste Combustors such as H-Power, and deferring biogenic emissions until 2014. New or modified sources are also covered, to ensure emissions aren’t being displaced.

2.     The size of facilities that are required to report – Hawaii’s proposed rules target larger sources with potential emissions above 100,000 tons CO2equivalents/year – which is estimated to effect 25 sources in Hawaii.

3.     The setting of GHG Limits – Reporting GHG emissions doesn’t necessarily mean reducing emissions.  Hawaii’s proposed rules seek to reduce GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 (as set by Act 234), which equates to 13.66 MMT CO2e – a number taken from the 2008 Hawaii GHG Inventory report by ICF International, which excludes aviation and international bunker fuel emissions and includes carbon sinks.

4.     The setting of fees – Fees may be associated with reporting in order for the State to have the capacity to manage the reporting process. Hawaii’s proposed rules change fees for only federally regulated covered sources, and the fee is based on the amount of emissions emitted.

Comprehensive information about GHG reporting by State is also available on the EPA’s website.

What you can do:

Hawaii’s GHG regulations, though technical, will have a major impact for all of Hawaii’s energy users, Hawaii’s energy producers, and anyone impacted by GHG emissions and global climate change (read: everyone!). If you cannot make it to the above public hearings, please contribute your thoughts by mail or hand delivery by January 14, 2013 to:

Hawaii State Department of Health, Clean Air Branch
919 Ala Moana Boulevard, Room 203,
Honolulu, HI, 96814