Honolulu, Hawaii



RE:    S.B. No. 2421

       S.D. 1




Honorable Colleen Hanabusa

President of the Senate

Twenty-Fourth State Legislature

Regular Session of 2008

State of Hawaii




     Your Committee on Water and Land, to which was referred S.B. No. 2421 entitled:




begs leave to report as follows:


     The purpose of this measure is to appropriate funds for the acquisition of lands in Central Oahu currently owned by the Galbraith Estate.


     Testimony in support of this measure was submitted by the Wahiawa Community and Business Association, Hawaii Farm Bureau, and one individual.  The Trust for Public Land submitted testimony in support of this measure with reservations.  Comments on this measure were submitted by Bank of Hawaii and the Department of Land and Natural Resources.


     Your Committee finds that as development pressures and urban sprawl increase on Oahu, our local community has become increasingly concerned about land use, food self-sufficiency and security, natural resource depletion, and economic dependency on imported food and products.  The purchase of the George Galbraith Estate lands, comprising approximately two thousand one hundred acres of agricultural lands north of Wahiawa, is intended to be an investment in a sustainable future in agriculture.


     As an industry, Hawaii's agricultural activities account for approximately $2 billion in sales and about five per cent of the State's total employment.  While sugar cane and pineapple production has all but ceased, we have seen a tremendous growth in diversified agriculture, including seed crops, coffee, macadamia nuts, fruits, vegetables, flowers, and nursery products.  The Galbraith Estate was once productive pineapple lands farmed and harvested by Del Monte.  In addition, these lands are also an important recharge area over our drinking water aquifer.  Finally, the development of these lands will remove a critical "agricultural buffer zone" or Army Compatible Use Buffer that could restrict the Army's ability to train its troops here on Oahu.  In fiscal year 2005, the U.S. Army invested approximately $1.9 billion directly into Hawaii's economy.


     Your Committee further finds that the State of Hawaii is committed to preserving its limited natural resources.  Like the military and tourism, agriculture is a pillar of our economy.  While we may be reaching the limit on the number of visitors we can reasonably accommodate, the benefits of expanding our agricultural base cannot be disputed.  State acquisition of the Galbraith Estate would be an important stimulus of this expansion.


     Your Committee further finds that the issue of acquiring the Galbraith Estate lands raises concerns that merit further consideration.  Accordingly, your Committee recommends that all methods of financing be considered as this measure moves forward, including but not limited to, authorizing the Agribusiness Development Corporation to purchase and manage the land to ensure continued agricultural use through long-term lease agreements or the State exercising its power of eminent domain to acquire the property.


     Accordingly, your Committee has amended this measure by providing that the property may be acquired through outright purchase, cooperative agreement, or exercise of the State's power of eminent domain.


     As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Water and Land that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 2421, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 2421, S.D. 1, and be referred to the Committee on Ways and Means.


Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Water and Land,