HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.C.R. NO.

141

TWENTY-THIRD LEGISLATURE, 2005

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 
   


HOUSE CONCURRENT

RESOLUTION

 

URGING THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH to ACTIVELY MONITOR LEVELS OF SULFUR DIOXIDE AND ESTABLISH A VOG INDEX advisory PROGRAM FOR THE PUNA AND KA'U AREAS OF THE ISLAND OF HAWAII.

 

 

WHEREAS, Kilauea, which has been erupting since January 3, 1983, is the top single producer of sulfur dioxide in the nation; and

WHEREAS, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finds that sulfur dioxide contributes to respiratory illness, particularly in children and the elderly and aggravates existing heart and lung disease; and

WHEREAS, the EPA also finds that sulfur dioxide and pollutants formed from sulfur dioxide, such as sulfate particles, can be transported over long distances and deposited far from their point of origin; and

WHEREAS, sulfur dioxide causes respiratory effects in all persons exposed to it by depositing tiny sulfate particles in the lungs, which are associated with increased respiratory symptoms and disease, difficulty in breathing, and premature death; and

WHEREAS, the EPA further finds that high levels of sulfur dioxide emitted over a short period of time, such as a day, can be particularly problematic for people with asthma; and

WHEREAS, our current ambient air quality regulations and thresholds only take into account effects on healthy adults and not on infants, young children and the elderly, who are much more sensitive to sulfur dioxide; and

WHEREAS, in the recent March 2005 issue of the Scientific Journal Geology, a study by Bernadette M. Longo, Anita Grunder, Raymond Chuan, and Annette Rossignol found that "Ka'u residents are exposed to volcanogenic pollutants at concentrations that warrant concern for adverse health effects"; and

WHEREAS, the Department of Health (DOH) maintains vog monitoring stations in Hilo and Kona and a vog index advisory program for Kona; and

WHEREAS, though the EPA heavily regulates industrial facility emissions high in sulfur dioxide, especially fuel combustion electric utilities, it is impossible to place emission controls on Kilauea; and

WHEREAS, unlike respiratory ailments that can be attributed to exposure to mold spores and dust, exposure to sulfur dioxide is not preventable simply by keeping a good housekeeping regimen; and

WHEREAS, regardless of the inability to contain sulfur dioxide in the ambient air, exposure may be limited by timely knowledge so that wise choices, especially regarding outdoor activities, can be made; now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the Twenty-third Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2005, the Senate concurring, that DOH is urged to actively monitor levels of sulfur dioxide and establish a vog index advisory program for the Puna and Ka'u areas of the island of Hawaii; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that DOH work with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Mauna Loa Observatory and their Hawaii High School Vog Monitoring Network, which has already established student-run and built automated sulfur dioxide monitoring machines at Ka'u High and Pahala Elementary School, Pahoa High and Intermediate School, as well as at an outdoor education center at Volcano Village; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that DOH submit a report on its progress regarding a Puna and Ka'u vog monitoring and index advisory program to the Legislature no later than 20 days prior to the convening of the Regular Session of 2006; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to Hawaii's congressional delegation, the Governor, the Superintendent of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the Director of Health, and the Director of the Mauna Loa Observatory.

 

 

 

OFFERED BY:

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Report Title:

Vog monitoring and index advisory system; Puna, Kau