H.C.R. NO.














requesting the U.S. Department of agriculture to provide federal aid to assist agricultural operations in vog-impacted areas in meeting their water needs.




     WHEREAS, in March of 2008, a rupture in the lower east wall of Kilauea's Halema'uma'u crater resulted in the release of large quantities of volcanic emissions that, mixed with air, formed what is commonly referred to as "vog"; and


     WHEREAS, emissions from the newly created vent have continued throughout the year, resulting in elevated levels of vog in the atmosphere; and


     WHEREAS, vog contains sulfur dioxide which, in addition to being a potential health hazard in high concentrations, has also proven to be particularly harmful to agricultural crops; and


     WHEREAS, sulfur dioxide, and by-products like sulfuric acid, damage both the leaves and the flowers of plants, including protea and other cut flowers, rendering them unsalable; and


     WHEREAS, farmers provided testimony on the devastating impact of vog on their businesses at fact-finding meetings convened by the House Special Committee on Vog Effects; and


     WHEREAS, one of the methods used to treat plants exposed to sulfur dioxide involves spraying plants with large amounts of water to wash off the sulfur dioxide; and


     WHEREAS, many farmers are located in rural areas that have no access to relatively inexpensive county water and, instead, must rely on costly water provided by privately operated public utilities; 


     WHEREAS, the cost to farmers that are forced to rely on water treatments to save their crops is enormous; and


     WHEREAS, the Legislature, in 2008, passed a measure enacted into law as Act 169, to assist farmers living in remote areas by allowing the Public Utilities Commission to establish preferential water rates for customers that use water for bona-fide agricultural activities; and


     WHEREAS, notwithstanding these efforts, additional aid is needed to assist farmers in meeting their water needs; now, therefore,


     BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the Twenty-fifth Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2009, the Senate concurring, that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is requested to provide federal aid to assist agricultural operations in vog-impacted areas in meeting their water needs; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the Secretary of Agriculture.









Report Title: 

Agricultural Water; Aid; Vog