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State briefs for April 25

Honolulu commits to lower emissions

HONOLULU (AP) — Honolulu has committed to a new climate change plan to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2025 compared to levels present in 2015.

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Matthew Gonser, the executive director of the Honolulu Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency, said to reporters on Thursday that the city’s carbon pollution had increased every year since 2017.

“That’s why we need to really look at this plan of action, find the ways that we can immediately take action and drive those emissions down over time,” Gonser said.

The Climate Action Plan represents one tool the city is using to achieve its commitment to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2045.

As part of the plan, the city will fully transition its vehicle fleet to electric or clean energy by 2035, including its 550 buses. Honolulu has three electric buses and expects to add about 14 more by the end of the year.

The city also committed to exploring whether to install more protected bicycle lanes and electric vehicle charging stations.

Bill would require 10% of produce to be local

HONOLULU (AP) — A bill in Hawaii that would require at least 10% of state-bought produce to be local has passed both the state House and Senate.

The bill introduced by Democratic state Rep. Scot Matayoshi will now head to Gov. David Ige’s desk for approval.

The measure aims to ensure that state funds directly support local businesses.

“If our state is truly committed to reviving our agricultural industry and diversifying our economy, we need to put our money where our mouth is. That starts with supporting local farmers and weaning our state away from our dependence on tourism,” Matayoshi said.

The legislation, if approved by Ige, would mandate that a minimum of 10% of produce purchased by state departments be grown locally by 2025.

That percentage requirement would increase every five years to 50% by 2050.

Each state department would be required to submit an annual report to the Legislature with the total of local produce purchased.

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“We see the progress being made towards clean energy set years ago,” Matayoshi said. “This bill will set us on a similar path for both our local agricultural industry and food security.”

Locally grown produce include fruits, nuts, coffee, vegetables, meats, fish, dairy and poultry products.

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