THE SENATE                           S.C.R. NO.            211
TWENTIETH LEGISLATURE, 1999                                
STATE OF HAWAII                                            
                                                             
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                    SENATE  CONCURRENT
                        RESOLUTION

  REQUESTING THE UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII AND THE DEPARTMENT OF
    BUSINESS, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, AND TOURISM TO INVESTIGATE
    ESTABLISHING A PARTNERSHIP WITH THE UNITED STATES
    DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR, FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE TO
    EXPLORE THE POTENTIAL RESEARCH, EDUCATIONAL, AND ECONOMIC
    OPPORTUNITIES OF JOHNSTON ATOLL.



 1        WHEREAS, Johnston Atoll National Wildlife Refuge is a
 2   coral atoll near the center of the North Pacific located seven
 3   hundred seventeen nautical miles southwest of Oahu and four
 4   hundred fifty nautical miles south of French Frigate Shoals in
 5   the Northwest Hawaiian Islands consisting of four major islands
 6   and approximately fifty square miles of lush and varied reef;
 7   and
 8   
 9        WHEREAS, Johnston Atoll is 80,000,000 years old and one of
10   the most isolated atolls in the world; and
11   
12        WHEREAS, since its discovery by British sea captain
13   Charles Johnston in 1807, the atoll has had a colorful history
14   including an attempt by King Kamehameha IV to claim the atoll
15   as part of Hawaii; and
16   
17        WHEREAS, the twelve-mile-long atoll was claimed by the
18   United States in 1858, placed under the Navy Department in 1934
19   for construction of an airbase and played a strategic role in
20   World War II as an airfield in the battle for the mid-Pacific.
21   Subsequently, it was managed by the United States Air Force
22   playing an important role in the 1951 and 1952 Korean airlifts,
23   and during the late 1950s and 1960s a series of atomic and
24   atmospheric tests were conducted.  The atoll was also the
25   launch point for several high altitude nuclear tests; and
26   
27        WHEREAS, in the 1970s chemical weapons were shipped from
28   Okinawa to Johnston Atoll for storage which led the United
29   States Army to begin considering the construction of a special

 
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 1   environmentally sound facility to destroy these weapons in the
 2   1980s; and
 3   
 4        WHEREAS, in 1985 the Environmental Protection Agency
 5   issued a ten-year Resource Conservation and Recovery Act permit
 6   to the Army for the construction and operation of the Johnston
 7   Atoll Chemical Agent Disposal System; and
 8   
 9        WHEREAS, by the year 2000, the entire United States
10   chemical weapons stockpile including rockets, bombs,
11   projectiles and over two million pounds of sarin will have been
12   removed from our communities and safely processed through the
13   Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent Disposal System fulfilling its
14   mission; and
15   
16        WHEREAS, with the imminent closure of the Johnston Atoll
17   Chemical Agent Disposal System in sight, focus has turned to
18   dismantling of the facility and the clean up of any leftover
19   contamination from the hazardous waste and the ultimate return
20   of the atoll to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service
21   whose biologists have monitored the natural resources for years
22   and assisted the military in protecting and managing the
23   atoll's resources; and
24   
25        WHEREAS, the Fish and Wildlife Service has identified
26   Johnston Atoll as the breeding and nesting grounds of
27   approximately five thousand seabirds of twelve species and
28   documented over three hundred one species of fish, twenty-eight
29   species of coral, many more species of invertebrates, including
30   two endangered species, the Chelonia mydas, the green sea
31   turtle, the Monachus schauinslandi, and the Hawaiian monk seal;
32   and
33   
34        WHEREAS, current infrastructure existing on the atoll
35   include an airport and runway capable of supporting large jet
36   aircraft, a sea plane landing area, large vessel docking piers,
37   seven large dormitories with living accommodations for over one
38   thousand two hundred people, including kitchen, galley and
39   dining facilities for three hundred people, factories, offices,
40   a swimming pool, and a large air filter building that serves as
41   a disaster shelter; and
42   

 
 
 
 
 
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 1        WHEREAS, the imminent closure of the Johnston Atoll
 2   Chemical Agent Disposal System and the demilitarization of
 3   Johnston Island presents an opportunity for Hawaii to explore
 4   research and economic opportunities utilizing existing
 5   infrastructure and resources on the atoll; and
 6   
 7        WHEREAS, existing programs at the University of Hawaii,
 8   College of Business Administration, Pacific Business Center
 9   Program link the resources of the university with the greater
10   needs of the business, government, and nonprofit communities;
11   and
12   
13        WHEREAS, the Pacific Business Center Program has
14   facilitated the successful development of eco-tourism
15   throughout the Micronesian Islands by providing the necessary
16   expertise to conduct feasibility studies, prepare a business
17   plan, and assist in the actual development and implementation
18   of the plan; and
19   
20        WHEREAS, the University of Hawaii is a world leader in
21   tropical oceanographic research with specific expertise on
22   Johnston Atoll, its faculty and programs having conducted past
23   research there, including an ecological survey by the
24   University of Hawaii Zoology Department, a coral study by the
25   University of Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, deep water
26   research by the University of Hawaii Undersea Research
27   Laboratory, and a geophysics study; now, therefore,
28   
29        BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Twentieth Legislature
30   of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 1999, the House of
31   Representatives concurring, that the University of Hawaii and
32   the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism
33   are requested to investigate establishing a partnership with
34   the United States Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife
35   Service to explore the potential research, education, and
36   economic opportunities of Johnston Atoll including development
37   of an eco-tourism industry, a long-line fishing base or
38   outpost, and an open ocean aquaculture industry; and
39   
40        BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Department of Business,
41   Economic Development, and Tourism is requested to report
42   findings and recommendations to the Legislature twenty days
43   prior to the convening of the Regular Session of 2000; and
44   

 
 
 
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 1        BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this
 2   Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the Secretary of the
 3   Interior, the Director of Business, Economic Development, and
 4   Tourism, the President of the University of Hawaii, and the
 5   Chairperson the the Board of Regents.
 6 
 7 
 8 
 9                           OFFERED BY: ___________________________