H.C.R. NO.



H.D. 1






requesting the legislative reference bureau TO conduct a policy review to examine THE PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE POLICY FRAMEWORK as a guiding principle IN CONDUCTING THE STATE'S AFFAIRS.


WHEREAS, every citizen has an equal right to a healthy and safe environment, which requires that our air, water, earth, and food be of a sufficiently high standard that individuals and communities can live healthy, fulfilling, and dignified lives; and

WHEREAS, the duty to enhance, protect, and preserve Hawaii's environment rests on the shoulders of government, residents, citizen groups, and businesses alike; and

WHEREAS, historically, environmentally harmful activities have only been stopped after they have manifested extreme environmental degradation or exposed people to harm; and

WHEREAS, the Precautionary Principle requires a thorough exploration and a careful analysis of a wide range of alternatives based on the best available science, the selection of the alternative that presents the least potential threat to human health and the State's natural systems, and public participation and an open and transparent decision-making process critical to finding and selecting alternatives; and

WHEREAS, application of the Precautionary Principle approach as a policy framework may develop laws for a healthier and more just Hawaii; now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the Twenty-second Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2004, the Senate concurring, that the Legislature requests the Legislative Reference Bureau to conduct a policy review that examines, where there are reasonable grounds for concern, the Precautionary Principle approach to decision-making, which may be implemented by state departments and agencies to help reduce harm by triggering a process to select the least potential threat; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Precautionary Principle approach to decision-making to be implemented by state departments and agencies includes the following essential elements:

(1) Anticipatory Action: There is a duty to take anticipatory action to prevent harm. Government, business, and community groups, as well as the general public, share this responsibility;

(2) Right to Know: The community has a right to know complete and accurate information on potential human health and environmental impacts associated with the selection of products, services, operations, or plans. The burden to supply this information lies with the proponent, not with the general public;

(3) Alternatives Assessment: An obligation exists to examine a full range of alternatives and select the alternative with the least potential impact on human health and the environment including the alternative to do nothing;

(4) Full Cost Accounting: When evaluating potential alternatives, there is a duty to consider all the reasonably foreseeable costs, including raw materials, manufacturing, transportation, use, cleanup, eventual disposal, and health costs even if such costs are not reflected in the initial price. Short- and long-term benefits and time thresholds should be considered when making decisions; and

(5) Participatory Decision Process: Decisions applying to the Precautionary Principle must be transparent, participatory, and informed by the best available information; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Legislative Reference Bureau is requested to examine the Precautionary Principle in relation to existing environmental reviews and regulatory processes; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Legislative Reference Bureau is requested to report its findings to the Legislature no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the Regular Session of 2005; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a certified copy of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the Director of the Legislative Reference Bureau.


Report Title:

Environmental Protection in Conducting State's Affairs