Coralie Chun Matayoshi explains the impact of sea level rise on homes in Hawaii

Honolulu (KHON2) — Coralie Chun Matayoshi explains how sea level rise is impacting the local real estate industry in KHON2’s latest podcast episode, “What’s The Law.”

Oahu could lose 40 percent of its beaches over the next 20 years due to accelerated sea level rise caused by climate change, according to University of Hawaii scientists.

“Sea level rise per se is not bad for beaches or the cause of beach loss. Instead, this is how we’ve responded, allowing for seawalls, sand burritos, and other forms of artificial shore hardening. When waves hit walls and sandbags along the beaches, sand is washed back out to sea and the beach is eventually washed away. Without these man-made structures, our beaches could adapt to sea-level rise by migrating inland as the waves get higher and higher,” says Coralie Chun Matayoshi, producer and host of KHON2’s What’s the Law.

Chun Matayoshi says the public trust doctrine states that beaches belong to Hawaiians and the government has a duty to protect natural resources like beaches for future generations.

Chun Matayoshi says, “For years, the government allowed property owners to request derogations from levee construction, but a law passed in 2020 now bans further construction of levees and other coastal hardening projects. Private property owners can still apply for emergency permits to install temporary protections like sand burritos, but the state must enforce the 3-year limit and not allow them to stay awake indefinitely. And last year lawmakers passed a law requiring sellers to notify buyers when there is a threat of sea level rise — that law didn’t go into effect until May 1.”

In addition to the impact of sea level rise, the latest podcast episode of What’s The Law discusses why state legislatures decided to eliminate payday loans.

“Last year the legislature phased out payday loans in favor of installment loans that are repaid in smaller amounts over time. The maximum loan amount is $1,500 with a maximum interest rate of 36% and up to $35/month in fees. Lenders must be licensed and follow certain rules, and the new law went into effect earlier this year,” says Chun Matayoshi.

Viewers can listen to “What’s The Law” every Monday through KHON2’s official website.

KHON2 Presents “What’s The Law”