In this Aug. 23, 2018 file photo, people stand near flood waters from Hurricane Lane in Hilo, Hawaii. Some of Hawaii's most iconic beaches could soon be underwater as rising sea levels caused by global warming overtake its white sand beaches and bustling city streets. That’s alarming for a state where beach tourism is the primary economic driver. (Hollyn Johnson/Hawaii Tribune-Herald via AP, File)

Waikiki flood concerns spur push for Hawaii shore protection

April 21, 2019 - 10:45 am

HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii's iconic Waikiki Beach could soon be underwater as rising sea levels caused by global warming overtake its white sand beaches and bustling city streets.

That's alarming for a state where beach tourism is the primary economic driver.

So state lawmakers are trying to pass legislation that would defend against routine coastal flooding that may become the norm in as little as 15 years.

A version of one proposed bill that would create a shoreline protection plan for urban Honolulu has passed both chambers of Hawaii's Legislature.

House and Senate leaders will convene in the coming weeks to discuss final changes before sending the bill to Gov. David Ige.

Research suggests Hawaii will see a 3-foot (0.9-meter) rise in ocean levels by the end of this century.

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