STAND. COM. REP. NO. 2745

 

Honolulu, Hawaii

 

RE: S.B. No. 2930

S.D. 2

 

 

 

Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi

President of the Senate

Twenty-Ninth State Legislature

Regular Session of 2018

State of Hawaii

 

Sir:

 

Your Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health, to which was referred S.B. No. 2930, S.D. 1, entitled:

 

"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO UNDERGROUND STORAGE TANKS,"

 

begs leave to report as follows:

 

The purpose and intent of this measure is to protect the State's underground drinking water sources and surrounding environment by requiring the Department of Health to adopt rules for underground storage tanks, tank systems, and related piping that conform with 2015 revisions to federal regulations and include additional requirements no less stringent than any regulation established pursuant to federal law for certain field-constructed underground storage tanks, including compliance with certain requirements in chapter 11-281, Hawaii Administrative Rules, or successor rules.

 

Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of the Attorney General, Board of Water Supply of the City and County of Honolulu, Oahu County Committee on Legislative Priorities of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, League of Women Voters of Hawaii, IMUAlliance, Hawaiian Civic Club of Honolulu, Environmental Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, and twenty-three individuals. Your Committee received testimony in opposition to this measure from the United States Department of the Navy, Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii, and three individuals. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Department of Health; Commander, United States Pacific Command; and Sierra Club.

 

Your Committee finds that the lands and waters of Hawaii are unique and delicately balanced resources, which are vital to the economy of the State, and that the protection of groundwater is a matter of the highest priority.

 

Your Committee finds that the underground storage of petroleum products and hazardous substances with potential spills, discharges, and leaks, can pose serious threats to the environment and thus to citizens of the State. Your Committee further finds that the Red Hill bulk fuel storage facility (Red Hill) stores more fuel in a single location than any other underground storage tank system in Hawaii, storing up to 187 million gallons of fuel per day.

 

Your Committee notes the concerns raised by the United States Department of the Navy, including that the Navy has already reached an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) setting a timeframe to renovate Red Hill by 2037. Your Committee notes that this measure, as drafted, includes a deadline no later than 2028.

 

Your Committee also finds that it is of the utmost importance to resolve the issues raised by potential leaks at Red Hill without recourse to further litigation and to conform with existing EPA agreements in order for Hawaii to maintain autonomy and control over its own environmental regulation. Your Committee finds that this is especially true in light of the lack of environmental concern at the federal regulatory level.

 

Your Committee also finds that the Department of Health and Department of the Attorney General are capable of completing the rulemaking contemplated by this measure by October 13, 2018, provided that the court overseeing litigation with respect to Red Hill renders a final decision in a timely fashion; your Committee notes that the final decision remains uncertain but that the substance of the court order is likely to be addressed by this measure. Your Committee finds that the October 13, 2018, deadline to adopt rules at least as stringent as existing federal regulations was imposed by the EPA and that failure to comply would affect federal approval of the State's underground storage tank environmental regulatory program. Your Committee recognizes the imminency of the October 13, 2018, deadline and the difficulty of the rulemaking process and finds that advancing this measure is necessary to allow the State to comply with the EPA deadline and preemptively address the anticipated results of the existing litigation over Red Hill through legislation.

 

Your Committee has also heard concerns from the Department of Health and Department of the Attorney General that some language in section 1 of this measure may be inaccurate or imprecise. Your Committee has received proposed language from the Departments to address these issues and finds that amendments are necessary to incorporate this language into the measure.

 

Your Committee finds that further discussion of this measure is warranted, including with respect to the deadlines for compliance. In response to questioning by your Committee, the Department of Health and Department of the Attorney General indicated that providing a timeline of the proposed rulemaking would be feasible; your Committee urges the Departments to provide such a timeline to the Legislature as soon as possible.

 

Your Committee has amended this measure by:

 

(1) Amending section 1 to correct inaccurate information and clarify imprecise language;

 

(2) Inserting blank dates for the deadlines to take out of service and to permanently close underground storage tanks and tank systems that fail to comply with new rules;

 

(3) Inserting an effective date of July 1, 2050, to encourage further discussion; and

 

(4) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and consistency.

 

As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 2930, S.D. 1, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Third Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 2930, S.D. 2.

 

Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health,

 

 

 

________________________________

ROSALYN H. BAKER, Chair