Report Title:

Vog Research; Prevention of Vog Damage



Requires the Department of Agriculture to work with the University of Hawaii, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, to determine best methods of vog treatment and research vog-resistant varieties of plants; appropriates funding. Effective 07/01/2020.  (HB318 HD1)



H.B. NO.



H.D. 1
















     SECTION 1.  In response to the recent increases in emissions from Kilauea's newest vent at Halemaumau crater, a House Special Committee on Vog Effects (Committee) was created to bring together experts to examine the effects of vog on the people of the State of Hawaii.  The Committee held a series of fact-finding meetings focusing on health and public safety, agriculture, and economic impacts and tourism.

     At one of the committee meetings, the implications of vog on agriculture were discussed, particularly the destruction of or damage to crops for farmers of protea and chrysanthemum.  Flowers and other plants, including protea, irises, and roses, are damaged by high levels of sulfuric acid (SO2) that may persist for several hours at a time, with incidents occurring every few weeks.  Tender, leafy plants appear to be most susceptible to vog, while tropical plants with waxy coatings appear to be protected from the effects of vog.  Eucalyptus trees in higher elevations have also been severely defoliated.  Sulfuric acid damages stomata on leaves and flowers incur damage from dew, as SO2 combined with water produces sulfuric acid.

     To combat the effects of vog, some farmers have begun independent research on strategies to prevent vog damage.  Anti-desiccants have shown positive results, but additional research and field studies are needed to develop appropriate procedures for application.  Spraying water on plants to wash off volcanic ash and sulfuric acid also seems to be effective, but frequent use of water increases the likelihood of fungal growth on plants that thrive in drier climates, such as protea.  Also, water is an expensive and precious commodity in vog-affected areas.  Greenhouses also offer protection, especially if they are airtight.

     In addition, various government entities suggested methods to counteract the effects of vog, including the use of:

     (1)  Sodium bicarbonate or potassium bicarbonate to neutralize acid rain; and 

     (2)  Paraffin waxes to protect stomata from SO2

In any case, the legislature finds that additional research on vog-resistant cultivars is necessary. 

     The purpose of this Act is to require the department of agriculture to work with the University of Hawaii, college of tropical agriculture and human resources, to:

(1)  Determine the most effective methods of vog treatment; and

(2)  Find crop varieties that are most resistant to the effects of vog.

     SECTION 2.  The department of agriculture, in consultation with the University of Hawaii college of tropical agriculture and human resources, shall conduct comprehensive research, including controlled experiments and field trials, to:

(1)  Determine the most effective methods for employing vog treatments such as water, anti-desiccants, and paraffin waxes to prevent vog-damage to plants in vog-affected areas; and

(2)  Determine specific varieties of crops that are more resistant to the effects of vog. 

     In conducting research, the department shall work with farmers in vog-affected areas to determine which methods and crops are the most effective, efficient, and economic.  

     SECTION 3.  There is authorized a federal fund ceiling increase of $           for the department of agriculture to accommodate federal funds received under the Homeland Security Grant Program.

     SECTION 4.  There is appropriated out of the federal funds received under the Homeland Security Grant Program the sum of $          or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2009-2010 and the same sum or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2010-2011 for vog treatments and vog-resistant plant research required in this Act.

     The sums appropriated shall be expended by the department of agriculture for the purposes of this Act.

     SECTION 5.  This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2020.