STAND. COM. REP. NO. 3818
RE: GOV. MSG. NO. 653
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Twenty-Ninth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2018
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Water and Land, to which was referred Governor's Message No. 653, submitting for study and consideration the nomination of:
Natural Area Reserves System Commission
G.M. No. 653
for a term to expire 06-30-2022,
begs leave to report as follows:
Your Committee reviewed the personal history, resume, and statement submitted by Alison Cohan for service on the Natural Area Reserves System Commission.
Your Committee received testimony in support of the nomination for the appointment of Alison Cohan from the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Office of Economic Development of the County of Maui, The Nature Conservancy of Hawai‘i, East Maui Watershed Partnership, and one individual.
Upon review of the testimony, your Committee finds that Alison Cohan's background, experience, and proven leadership qualify her to be nominated to the Natural Area Reserves System Commission as a member possessing scientific qualifications as evidenced by an academic degree in resource management. Your Committee notes that Ms. Cohan currently serves as the Director of the Maui Nui Forest Program for The Nature Conservancy of Hawai‘i to promote exemplary landscape-scale management and threat abatement and effective conservation management of The Nature Conservancy's network of preserves and landholdings in Maui County. She has demonstrated extensive leadership and field expertise in resources management through this position as well as her previous position as a field representative for the program. Ms. Cohan also has expertise in marine management focusing on monk seals and whales through her previous research positions and has been deeply engaged in large-scale conservation planning efforts through watershed partnerships and invasive species committees.
Your Committee further notes that the Hawaii State Ethics Commission was consulted on whether Ms. Cohan's employment with The Nature Conservancy of Hawai‘i poses any potential conflicts of interest if she is appointed to serve as member of the Natural Area Reserves System Commission. A staff attorney at the Hawaii State Ethics Commission informed your Committee that nothing prevents the appointment. Her appointment as a member possessing scientific qualifications as evidenced by an academic degree in resource management is a role that is separate from her employment with The Nature Conservancy. However, if Ms. Cohan is appointed to serve on the Commission, the staff attorney at the Hawaii State Ethics Commission advised that she should not take any action that involves any sum of money for The Nature Conservancy. As an employee of The Nature Conservancy, she should refrain from being involved in proposals for funding from the Board of Land and Natural Resources or in the handling of funds awarded by the Board of Land and Natural Resources to The Nature Conservancy. For other non-funding related decisions before the Natural Area Reserves System Commission involving The Nature Conservancy, or for funding to competitors of The Nature Conservancy, Ms. Cohan is urged to consult the Hawaii State Ethics Commission for further guidance. Your Committee has spoken to the nominee about these issues during phone calls on two separate occasions, and the nominee has agreed to follow all of the recommendations made by the staff attorney of the Hawaii State Ethics Commission.
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, after full consideration of the background, experience, and qualifications of the nominee, has found the nominee to be qualified for the position to which nominated and recommends that the Senate advise and consent to the nomination.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Water and Land,
KARL RHOADS, Chair