STAND. COM. REP. NO. 2173
RE: H.C.R. No. 55
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirtieth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2019
State of Hawaii
Your Committees on Agriculture and Environment and Government Operations, to which was referred H.C.R. No. 55, H.D. 1, entitled:
"HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION REQUESTING THE GOVERNOR TO CONVENE A WORKING GROUP TO MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS ON THE CONSOLIDATION OF STATE ENVIRONMENTAL FUNCTIONS AND THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A DEPARTMENT OF THE ENVIRONMENT,"
beg leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to request that the Governor convene a working group to make recommendations on the consolidation of state environmental functions and the establishment of the Department of the Environment.
Your Committees received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism and Sierra Club of Hawai‘i.
Your Committees find that environmental issues, including mitigating and adapting to climate change, reducing carbon emissions, planning for sea level rise, protecting natural resources, watersheds, and coral reefs, reducing solid waste, and improving wastewater disposal, are some of the most pressing environmental issues that affect our State. Your Committees further find that the placement of environmentally-related responsibilities in different departments, divisions, agencies, and offices deprioritizes environmental issues and hinders coordination of the implementation of solutions. Your Committees therefore find that this measure requests that the Governor convene a working group to make recommendations on the consolidation of state environmental functions and the establishment of the Department of the Environment, a single, executive branch department that bears all the responsibilities for environmental issues.
Your Committees have amended this measure by:
(1) Adding the Deputy Director for Environmental Health Administration of the Department of Health as a member of the working group; and
(2) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and consistency.
Your Committees encourage the working group, if and when established, to also consider and address procedural issues, such as whether any constitutional amendment would be necessary to create a new department and how to restructure existing agencies to accommodate the new department.
As affirmed by the records of votes of the members of your Committees on Agriculture and Environment and Government Operations that are attached to this report, your Committees concur with the intent and purpose of H.C.R. No. 55, H.D. 1, as amended herein, and recommend its adoption in the form attached hereto as H.C.R. No. 55, H.D. 1, S.D. 1.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committees on Agriculture and Environment and Government Operations,
LAURA H. THIELEN, Chair
MIKE GABBARD, Chair