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Hawaiʻi County Council wants an Office of Sustainability

Ku'uwehi Hiraishi
FILE - Hamakua Coast on the Big Island.

The Hawaiʻi County Council is working to add an Office of Sustainability, Climate, Equity and Resilience.

As proposed in Bill 48, the office could work to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change impacts with the social and economic impacts of the environment in mind.

"These are issues that are important, and they are equal in their importance," Council Chair Heather Kimball said of the office's proposed name. "There is a requirement for us to think systematically about the decisions we make checking all four boxes.

Kimball co-introduced the bill with Councilmember Rebecca Villegas to establish the office.

"We don't want to make sacrifices in sustainability just to achieve climate change objectives," Kimball said. "We don't want to make sacrifices and equity just to meet resilience objectives."

Initial estimates put the office cost at about $870,000 for five positions, possibly beginning next fiscal year, if both the bill and budgets are approved.

Hawaiʻi County would be the third county-level government to add an office of this kind in the state, after Maui and Honolulu.

Sabrina Bodon is Hawaiʻi Public Radio's government reporter. Contact her at sbodon@hawaiipublicradio.org or 808-792-8252.
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