Honolulu, Hawaii



RE:    H.B. No. 1578

       H.D. 1

       S.D. 2




Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi

President of the Senate

Twenty-Ninth State Legislature

Regular Session of 2017

State of Hawaii




     Your Committee on Ways and Means, to which was referred H.B. No. 1578, H.D. 1, S.D. 1, entitled:




begs leave to report as follows:


     The purpose and intent of this measure is to establish and appropriate funds for a Carbon Farming Task Force to identify agricultural and aquacultural practices that yield carbon sequestration benefits.


     Your Committee received written comments in support of this measure from the Department of Agriculture; Department of Land and Natural Resources; Office of Planning; Ulupono Initiative; Hawaii Island School Garden Network – The Kohala Center; Surfrider Foundation Oahu Chapter; Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action; Hawaii Center for Food Safety; Styrophobia; Surfrider Foundation; Sierra Club of Hawaii; and thirteen individuals.


     Your Committee finds that climate change presents an immediate threat to Hawaii's economy and natural resources.  Implementing agricultural practices that promote carbon sequestration can produce multiple environmental and economic benefits, including a reduction in greenhouse gases, an enhanced sustainability of Hawaii's agricultural lands, decreased sedimentation of the marine environment, and the creation of new opportunities for local farmers.  Many businesses and farmers would like to implement practices that result in carbon sequestration benefits, but information regarding these practices is not readily available.  Your Committee believes that establishing the Carbon Farming Task Force is necessary to identify and promote climate-smart agricultural practices.


     Your Committee has amended this measure by:


(1)  Changing one of the Carbon Farming Task Force's objectives from "Identify[ing] ways that ecosystems and agroforestry systems can be used to mitigate carbon content in Hawaii" to "Identify[ing] agroforestry practices that can be used to enhance carbon sequestration in Hawaii";


(2)  Changing the appropriation from $100,000 to an unspecified amount to facilitate further discussion on the measure; and


(3)  Making technical nonsubstantive changes for purposes of clarity, consistency, and style.


Your Committee notes that this measure provides for the mayor of each county to appoint one member to the Carbon Farming Task Force.  However, there does not appear to be any restrictions on or qualifications for the persons appointed, such as residency in the same county as the mayor making the appointment or having knowledge about agriculture or carbon sequestration.  Your Committee requests that these issues be addressed in Conference on the measure.


     As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Ways and Means that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 1578, H.D. 1, S.D. 1, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Third Reading in the form attached hereto as H.B. No. 1578, H.D. 1, S.D. 2.


Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Ways and Means,